Are MPs planning to Reject Magoha?

Since his appointment, the firebrand former University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor has kept his head down.

Meanwhile, members of parliament are plotting to pin the professor down when they finally have him on the vetting table.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has formally submitted the name of the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) chairman to the House for vetting.

Last Friday, President Kenyatta nominated Prof Magoha into the cabinet to replace Ms Amina Mohamed, who has been accused of weak leadership.

Ms Mohamed exit from the ministry saw her head to Sports, having taken over from Mr Rashid Echesa who was sacked over a myriad of scandals and technical capacity to manage one of the country’s most important dockets.

The date is set

Announcing Prof Magoha’s nomination on Tuesday, House Speaker Justin Muturi told MPs that they had until March 26 to either approve or reject his nomination.

This means the Education committee chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly will vet the candidate, a former University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, and present its report within 14 days to enable the House to consider it within the statutory timelines.

“In this regard, the committee should expeditiously notify the nominee and the general public of the time and place for holding the approval hearings and commence the necessary hearings,” Mr Muturi directed.

In the event that MPs fail to either approve or reject the nominee, he will be deemed to have been approved by the House and the Speaker will have no choice but to forward his name to the President for formal appointment.

Hit the ground running

Prof Magoha is famed for progressive reforms at the examinations council, that saw cases of national exam cheating drastically reduce.

He has the task of ensuring the new curriculum succeeds as previous proclamations by Ms Mohamed seem to have jolted one of Jubilee administration’s programmes in the education sector.

The Prof is also required to ensure the digital literacy programme succeeds and that the handling of teachers’ salary issues, transfers and other benefits no longer degenerates into industrial actions. 

There is also the matter of the hiring of more teachers to ensure 100 percent transition from primary to secondary school, an agenda whose success the Jubilee administration has committed to.

Has the backing of Judiciary

Mr Magoha, also the chair of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, has been endorsed by a Mt Kenya group of teachers and individuals including Chief Justice David Maraga.

CJ Maraga said on Saturday that the candidate did not need parliamentary approval and that his only hurdle was passing the examination by the education committee.

“Many Kenyans are of the opinion that Prof Magoha doesn’t need Parliament to be cleared. I also support that,” he said at Egerton University’s Njoro campus.

The Mt Kenya Teachers’ Forum has also registered support for Prof Magoha, saying his appointment was long overdue.

They want the nominee, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi and the former chair of the Kenya National Examinations Council, to wipe out cartels.

Never upset

Since Jubilee Party came into power in 2013, none of President Kenyatta’s Cabinet Secretary nominees have been rejected by the MPs.

In June 2015, however, the National Assembly pulled a first one on the President by rejecting the choice of Dr Monica Juma, currently the Foreign Affairs minister, for appointment as Secretary to the Cabinet.

Ms Juma had been vetted by the Administration and National Security committee and was to take over from Francis Kimemia (now Nyandarua Governor).

The committee, then chaired by former Tiaty MP Asman Kamama, recommended her appointment, accusing her of “arrogance and insensitivity”.

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