By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)
Of all the vetting performed by parliament on Tuesday, the most interesting was the vetting of the Public Service Commission nominee for Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko. Why? The Judicial Service Commission’s process of choosing, vetting and nominating of candidates for Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice was a pretty open process and all the interviews were publicly televised. The process through which Public Service Commission chose and nominated Mr. Keriako Tobiko was not, for the public who were shut out of this seemed like the an initial first vetting of candidate. The almost three hour interview was intense, while most of the parliamentary vetting panel seemed to acknowledge Mr. Tobiko as being highly qualified for the post both academically and in terms of intellect, they raised serious questions about the record of failed prosecutions carried out by the department of public prosecutions under his watch as well as questions that went to the heart of the nominees character and integrity.
MP Ababu Namwamba raised issue with the process through which Mr. Tobiko was nominated as well as sections public’s perception of the nominee as a ‘systems man’ and ‘master of inertia’ particularly when it came to prosecuting large scale corruption against cases against Kenya’s political elite. Several members of the panel brought up the recent acquittal of Eldoret North MP William Ruto in which the prosecution failed to call a pertinent witness as an example. MP John Mbadi asked targeted questions about the number of prominent persons that the Mr. Tobiko had successfully prosecuted over corruption allegations. He also queried the nominee’s appropriateness for the job considering that the National Assembly had adopted a report that had mentioned the nominee adversely in connection with the Anglo-leasing case. Other issues that came up were the nominees conduct during his tenure at Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC), the allegation by suspended Local Government MP Sammy Kirui that Mr. Tobiko attempted to solicit from him a bribe of Kshs. 5million. MP Millie Odhiambo raised issues of conflict of interest and abuse of office.
While the DPP nominee admitted the sub-par success rate with regards to prosecutions, he valiantly defended him against allegations that went to his character. However given the extremely powerful position of the DDP as envisioned by Article 157 of the new constitution do you think issues that came up during the parliamentary vetting of Mr. Tobiko raised serious questions about his suitability for the job?