Sarah Serem faces hurdle as MPs plot against ambassadorial nomination


SRC to start job evaluation in Nandi
sarah serem

In Summary

  • In June 2015, the National Assembly rejected President Kenyatta’s nomination of Monica Juma to the position of Secretary to the Cabinet.
  • At that time of her vetting, she was serving as Interior Ministry PS, and the lawmakers faulted her for not 'indulging' them.
  • This was after she wrote to Parliamentary clerks asking that legislators reduce their visits to the Interior Ministry and requests for favours at the department.

Sarah Serem may not have it easy when she appears in Parliament to be vetted for the post of Kenya’s new Ambassador to China.

This was after Majority Leader Aden Duale threatened to “teach her a lesson” for cutting down MPs’ benefits during her tenure as chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

The plot could turn out to be the second high-scale vendetta game by Parliament on a presidential nominee after Amb. Monica Juma’s experience.

While Serem may have expected to be vetted against her credentials and suitability, Duale has added an extra hurdle to her checklist; unsettled scores.

“Those who were in the 11th and 12th Parliament, you know how much we have been reduced as leaders of this country. You know what we went through,”said Duale.

During Serem’s tenure, in 2013, SRC gazetted new emoluments to just over Ksh.500,000 for MPs, a figure that was eventually fought by the legislators.

In 2017 just before leaving office, Serem’s team gazetted new guidelines for salaries of state officers putting legislators at Ksh.621,000 with several allowances slashed, including a Ksh.5million car grant.

That was later suspended by the High Court, reverting their basic pay to Ksh.710,000 a month until determination of the lawmakers’ case against SRC.

” …and God is great. We have another opportunity, Sarah Serem did not know that she would be nominated for a position that needs vetting,”said Duale.

Duale’s planned vendetta has elicited mixed reactions with a section of the legislators expressing their astonishment.

Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chair Katoo Ole Metito, who is part of the team that will vet ambassadorial nominees, has criticised Duale.

” If we begin to make pronouncements even before nominees appear, it is equal to intimidation and prejudicial. Some nominees may resolve to withdraw from process saying it won’t be fair,” said Ole Metito.

“To threaten a nominee who has been appointed by the same appointing authority whom he serves and to instruct the committee to punish her is to depict the House as people who have vendetta, who are very cheap,” added Charles Kilonzo (Yatta MP).

In June 2015, the National Assembly rejected President Kenyatta’s nomination of Monica Juma to the position of Secretary to the Cabinet.

At that time of her vetting, she was serving as Interior Ministry PS, and the lawmakers faulted her for not ‘indulging’ them.

This was after she wrote to Parliamentary clerks asking that legislators reduce their visits to the Interior Ministry and requests for favours at the department.

The then Asman Kamama-led National Administration committee quashed her nomination.

Ironically, Amb. Juma would later be approved by the same Parliament as Foreign Affairs CS, a position she currently holds.

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