The issue of
‘vetting’ is a vexing one simply because the way it is set up
does not really hold the person being vetted accountable for
completeness of information that could compromise their
The process is based
on depositions by members of the public to the vetting team as
well as what they can gather through a standard set of
The current process
for vetting of the boys in blue will be used as an example to
illustrate why the process will most likely not achieve the
This is how it goes.
The person to be
vetted is required to complete a self-assessment and wealth
declaration form to indicate their income, assets and
They are also
expected to provide a set of prescribed documents such as bank
statements and all income statements from whatever source.
should include ones for their dependents and spouse (s).
They should also
supply tax compliance certificates, educational proof as well as
a certificate of good conduct.
The person has to
indicate that they are willing to go through the vetting
requirement covers the potential problem that one’s human rights
are being infringed by being forced to take part in a vetting
Once all this
information is available and the person has signed up on the
prescribed form, the vetting organization then publishes the
person’s name in the media and asks all and sundry to submit to
the vetting panel any information that they think the panel
As this is going on,
the panel also seeks information from key institutions (for
police vetting) like Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC),
Kenya Revenue Authority (KR), Public Service Commission (PSC),
Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA), KNHRC, HELB, CRB
amongst many others.
This information is
complied and then sent to the person being vetted for them to
respond and provide further information, clarification and
evidence as the case may be.
The vetting panel
then analyse the data and also carry out any investigations
Once all this has
been completed then the person is invited for the public
crucifixion – the oral vetting interview.
The vetting process
will interrogate the persons qualifications, professional
conduct, integrity record, human rights record and financial
The issues to be
probed will come from the self-assessment form, personal file
(employ-ment history/ record), income declaration forms, bank
statement and information received from members of the public.
The proceedings are
The outcomes from
the initial submissions, the investigation and clarification
process and the oral interview are then collated and a score
given to the person being vetted.
The vetting panel
then sits and makes a decision on the suitability of the
Once they decide,
then the decision is communicated to the person concerned with
reasons for arriving at the decision.
The decision is then
The person is
allowed an opportunity to appeal the decision.
If one looks at the
process for vetting of judges and magistrates, the process is
similar but there is a bit more guidance on what should be
professional competence, written and oral communication skills,
integrity, fairness, temperament, good judgement, legal and life
experience and demonstrable commitment to public and community
This process in the
main also relies on documents and in-formation gathered from
records and personal interviews.
There are however
several things lacking in almost all the vetting protocols.
The first is that
the candidate only signs an affidavit that confirms that all
that they have submitted is true and correct to the best of
This is standard
They are not asked
to state whether there is anything that could compromise their
integrity, whether they have been involved in dishonest acts
that could set the office they are seeking into disrepute,
whether they have had extramarital affairs or received money
when they should not have.
They are not asked
to state whether they have cheated in any way or corruptly
acquired any property or assets that they have.
They are not asked
whether they have broken any law and got away with it (the
normal process asks whether they have any criminal records!).
These kinds of
declarations will make the candidates think harder and it will
also make the public a lot more vicious in what they deposit as
The second item is
that of investigation.
None of the vetting
panels and processes has any investigative powers.
They only receive
It means that if
there is any suspicion of malfeasance or similar situation, they
will have to pass it on to the relevant sectors of the public
service that has prosecutorial powers.
them-selves have serious confidence issues in the eyes of the
The degree of
success in investigating and carrying through to prosecution of
high public interest cases is very dismal.
In fact I cannot
remember the last time the then Attorney Generals chambers and
now the Director of Public Prosecution have successfully
prosecuted large complex cases.
This means that if
there is any deposition that merits investigation and has strong
evidence, it is unlikely to see the light of day.
All this means that
the vetting process is all a show rather than a proper process
for establishing that a person has the right moral character,
sets of values as well as qualifications to discharge the duty
they are trusted with on behalf of the public and the state.
We end up spending a
lot of taxpayers’ money in what I seriously view as a homegrown
‘soap opera’ of vetting and which in the end does not produce
the desired result.
All that vetting
does now is to provide entertainment to wananchi, it ridicules
the individual and removes any dignity they may have (even
thieves have a certain dignity!!).
Looking up the
meaning of vetting the most common definition is - to appraise,
verify, or check for accuracy, authenticity, validity, etc.
It does not meet the
objective of what we as
a public in Kenya
perceive the process is supposed to deliver.
Our view is that we
should suspend vetting till the pro-cesses are reviewed and made
really fit for purpose.
There should be one
common structure for vetting irrespective of who is being
The first part
should deal with character and values and question thoroughly
the integrity and ethical compass of the person.
The second part
should deal with the professional ability, demeanour and all the
parts that go towards the technical delivery of the mandate.
If either part is
questionable then the person should not be engaged.
Both parts must come
out strong for someone to be seen as suitable.
As Kachumbari says,
there is vetting …… and then there is vetting.