Appointments: What’s Constitutional?

Posted by on 21st May 2012

Categories:   Uncategorized

Recently there has been spate of rejections of nominees for various appointive positions. There is currently a court case to stop the appointment of the chairperson of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission; the Parliamentary Committee on National Security recently rejected the President’s nominees for the Police Service Commission; and the President’s nomination of 47 County Commissioners has been highly contested, with the Commission for Implementation of the Constitution stating that the appointments should be made afresh as the President did not follow the spirit of constitution in making them. The constitutionality of each of the above nominations/appointments has been called into question.

Given the rate at which the nominees/appointments are being rejected one would think there was no definitive manner for the nominating and appointing process. However the constitution sets out clear guidelines to regulate the procedures for making appointments to statutory authorities and other agencies. There is of course the requirement of consultations between the premiers, requirements of gender equity, regional balance, competitive recruitment and representation of marginalised people. The spirit of the constitution also requires appointments meet criteria of accountability, transparency, merit, independence, integrity, and political impartiality. The question is why are these criteria being continually flouted?

It is important that the public have confidence that appointments by the Executive are made against core principles of merit, integrity, accountability and transparency. Whenever appointments are made to institutions set up by legislation, the processes by which these appointments are made should be, and be seen to be, transparent, accountable, open and honest. However it seems that it is still the case that appointments made to public office are left largely to the discretion of the Executive with little or no input/consultation with the public.

The problem with even seemingly unconstitutional appointments is that they further the perception that government appointments are made through a secret process and against unknown criteria; and that certain positions with in government have been set aside for political cronies who are loyal to a specific party or administration and are as a consequence given positions for which they are not qualified.

In light of the constitutional requirements what is your view of the recent Presidential appointments?

1 Comment

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