Activist Opposes Land Commission Nominations

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Human Rights Activist Okiya Omtatah has threatened to file a petition to block the nomination of former Nyeri town MP Esther Murugi and former Isiolo Women Representative aspirant Tiyah Galgalo as members of the National Land Commission (NLC) Board.

He argued that the duo were not fit to take up the membership positions because they had initially applied and taken interviews for the position of the chairpersons of the board respectively.

Omtata threatened to seek legal redress to challenging the shortlisting of the duo as members of the board insisting that that Murugi and the   Galgalo tendered their applications to chair the board but failed to secure the positions.

“The duo participated in the interviews for the chairperson but did not make it,” he said, adding that it was surprising to find that they were selected as Board Members.

He argued that the move was against the law, while explaining that they neither applied nor participated in the interviews for the same.

“We will not allow their names to be presented to the National Assembly but will ensure that they are removed so that those who merited the posts can be given the opportunity to serve in the commission,” he said.

The Activist appealed to the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to ensure that parliament only appoints those who have been selected through due process.

“If they allow themselves to be used as rubber stamps, then we will move to court to oppose the appointments,” he said.

Omtatah pointed out that around 50 people applied for the post of chairmanship with a few others applying for membership and their names were published in the local dailies.

‘If you look at the list presented to the speaker by the President and compare it with those who participated in the interviews, you will find that there are some two people who were interviewed for the post of chairmanship but have been selected to become Board members,’ he said.

He argued that selecting the duo for the posts will deny those who merited the opportunity to serve, adding that they will not serve satisfactorily because it was not their first choice.

The Activist further asked the government to publish the names of applicants, those who were shortlisted and how they performed in the interviews so that members of the public can gauge whether those selected are fit to serve in the Commission.

On May 28, the Public Service Commission swore five members of a selection panel to convene and invite applications from qualified persons for nomination and appointment as Chairperson and members of the second NLC.

The  five panelists are Kennedy Kihara, Nominee from office of the President, Esther Omulele, from  the Ministry of Lands , Mairura  Omwenga  from Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Stephen Oundo from Association of Professional Societies of  East  Africa (APSEA) and Priscilla Nyokabi from the National Gender and Equality Commission.

By Salome Alwanda



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