Former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama has relinquished his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairperson post as Parliament kicks off the process of determining his suitability for the powerful and lucrative Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).
In its report to both the National Assembly and the Senate, the PSC recommended Mr Muthama for the non-MP Commissioner after interviewing eight persons on December 30, 2022.
On Friday, Mr Muthama, who has been the face of the ruling party since its inception in February 2021, told the Nation that he has resigned as UDA chairperson to pave way for his vetting.
“I have handed over my resignation to the party headquarters. What I am currently doing is proper handing over to the party secretariat,” he said.
In a newspaper advert on Friday, clerk of the Senate, Jeremiah Nyegenye, says Mr Muthama’s nomination by the PSC was forwarded by Speaker Amason Kingi to the Senate Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Right.
The committee chaired by Bomet Senator Hillary Sigei will vet Mr Muthama for the position.
Meanwhile, the Senate has invited the public to submit any representation on Mr Muthama’s suitability for the PSC role.
“Pursuant to section 6 (9) of the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act, 2011, the Standing Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights now invites interested members of the public to submit representations on the suitability of Johnson Muthama for appointment to the position of member of the Parliamentary Service Commission under Article 127 (2)(d) of the Constitution,” said Mr Nyegenye.
Only the President, Deputy President and MPs are exempted by the provision since they are elected through universal suffrage.
“A full-time State officer shall not participate in any other gainful employment. Any appointed State officer shall not hold office in a political party,” reads Article 77 (1, 2) of the Constitution.
Mr Muthama was President William Ruto’s key point man in the Ukambani region.
Other politicians shortlisted for the position include former Kisii Governor James Ongwae, former Matungu MP David Aoko Were and Aruma John Ekale.
Former Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa was also shortlisted from a list of 171 applicants, alongside Limuru MP Peter Mungai Mwathi, who is former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s key ally, and former Aldai MP Cornelly Serem.
Inside the commission
The PSC consists of the Speaker of the National Assembly, who is the chairperson, seven members appointed by Parliament ,and a woman and a man appointed by Parliament from persons who are experienced in public affairs but are not MPs.
The clerk of the Senate is the secretary of the commission.
The PSC now has Moses Wetang’ula, nominated Senator Ms Korir, Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Faith Gitau (Nyandarua), Okongo Omogeni (Nyamira), John Kinyua (Laikipia), Mohamed Ali (Nyali) and Patrick Makau (Mavoko) and Rachel Ameso
The commission is mandated with, among others, preparing annual estimates of expenditure of the parliamentary service, exercising budgetary control and undertaking, singly or jointly with other relevant organisations, programmes to promote the ideals of parliamentary democracy.