Public Service Commission Chairman, Stephen Kirogo has challenged the selection panel that will recruit a new chairperson and commissioners of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to exercise due diligence and ensure that persons of high moral character and proven integrity are considered.
Speaking during the inaugural meeting of the selection panel at his office Tuesday, Kirogo said the constitution bestows immense power and independence on commissions, hence the need to be more meticulous in selecting holders of such offices.
“Kenyans will rely on you to recruit persons who will have the capacity to exercise the powers given to them without fear or favour,” said Mr Kirogo, adding that the circumstances that led to the establishment of NCIC as a statutory body call for enhanced diligence in hiring new office bearers.
The six-member selection panel was appointed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i via Gazette Notice on 29th August 2019.
The members are Mr Kang’ethe Thuku – Ministry of Interior; Simon Rotich – CEO, Public Service Commission; Concepta Wasilwa – Attorney General’s Office; Abdi Ahmed Mohamud – EACC; Priscilla Nyokabi – National Gender and Equality Commission; and Anne Amadi – Registrar, Judiciary.
According to the National Cohesion and Integration (Amendment) Act, 2019, the process to select nominees for chairperson and commissioners will start within seven days of the panel’s inaugural meeting during which the positions will be advertised in the press.
Interested persons will have two weeks to apply, followed by another two weeks for the selection panel to shortlist, interview and submit to the President the names of 15 persons that would have qualified for appointment as members of the Commission.
NCIC, which was established as a statutory body under the National Cohesion and Integration Act No.12 of 2008 has been without commissioners since August 2018 when the term of the previous office holders expired.
An attempt by the National Assembly to replace the commissioners in 2018 was halted by court after 54 candidates were shortlisted, following a petition by activist Okiya Omtatah that ‘recruitment of persons to be appointed to public office is a preserve of the Public Service Commission and the Executive, not Parliament.’
The Act was amended and gazetted two months ago, paving way for the process to begin afresh.
The Act also requires NCIC commissioners to be picked from among people with deep knowledge and experience in matters relating to race, ethnicity, human relations and public affairs.