Senate seeks powers to vet State officers picked by President
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
Senators want the Senate given more powers including the vetting and approval of public and State officers nominated for appointment by the President.
Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and his Minority counterpart James Orengo said such was the case in countries with two chambers of Parliament.
They recommended that all approvals of nominees for appointment to State offices relating to the formation of government or which have a direct bearing on the performance of government of the day be approved by the National Assembly; and nominees for appointments to State offices not directly related to the formation of government and which enjoy security of tenure be approved by the Senate.
The senators want an exclusive mandate to vet nominees for the positions of Director of Public Prosecutions, chairpersons and members of constitutional commissions, the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice.
Others are Auditor General, Controller of Budget and Inspector General of the National Police Service.
However, the vetting of Cabinet Secretaries, Attorney-General, Secretary to the Cabinet, Principal Secretaries, High Commissioners, Ambassadors and Diplomatic and Consular Representatives should be vested on the National Assembly.
“If Cabinet ministers and Ministers of State are to be drawn either fully or partially from within the membership of the National Assembly, as proposed by the taskforce, it would be inappropriate for the National Assembly to approve nominees for these positions,” Murkomen said in Senate’s presentations to the BBI team.
With regard to the composition of Cabinet, the Senate observed that in comparative bicameral Parliaments, such as the United Kingdom, Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State may be drawn from either House.
On the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), the Senate recommends that the provisions relating to the Commission be reviewed so as to provide for a National Assembly Service Commission and a Senate Service Commission responsible for provision of services and facilities to the membership and staff of the respective Houses.
Separately, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi backed the proposal that Senate be elevated to be the Upper House.