Wrangles threaten filling of key public finance jobs

The furore surrounding the appointment of William Kirwa as Controller of Budget and three other constitutional office holders may delay the appointment of other economic managers as stipulated under the law.

An economics researcher and consultant Mbui Wagacha on Monday warned delays in appointing economic office holders bonded ill for the implementation of the new constitution.

‘‘Some of these offices are so important because of the vast task ahead. We need to prepare properly for the transition,’’ he said.

On Friday President Mwai Kibaki appointed Mr Kiram, judge of the court of appeal Alnashir Visram as chief justice, lawyers Githu Muigai as attorney general and Kioko Kilukumi as director of public prosecutions.

Although President Kibaki said he had consulted prime minister Raila Odinga as required by law, Mr Odinga later denied this prompting protests over the manner of appointment especially for the Judiciary and state law offices, including from the Judicial Service Commission.

The Parliamentary committee on agriculture also protested Mr Kirwa’s appointment saying it had an outstanding query over his tenure at the Agricultural Development Company (ADC), where he is the managing director.

The controversy has clouded the appointment to one of the foremost public finance offices in the land under the new constitution, arguably only rivalled by that of the Revenue Allocation Commission chair held by former Central Bank governor Micah Cheserem.

The Controller of Budget holds the key to some of the most important funds under the new constitution, the reason that might have informed an early appointment.

According to Dr Wagacha, the office will control the consolidated fund, the equalisation fund meant to implement affirmative action and the 47 county accounts.

The Constitution says he has to make a report to the House every three months.

Another critical offices which need to be filled soon are those of the Auditor General, for a term of 8 years, and Commissioner of Salaries and Remuneration.

Dr Wagacha who consults for a number of governments and multilateral institutions says that State has to change its way of doing things.

‘‘The constitution is clear that we have to have an open selection process. We cannot continue with the old process of patronage,’’ he said.

However, Economic Secretary at Treasury Geoffrey Mwau said there would be no delays in the appointment despite the controversy.

‘‘There cannot be a delay. That is why the process is starting early,’’ he said. Full story







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