President Kenyatta on Thursday released a list of the ministries of his lean government, but without names of Cabinet secretaries who will take up the dockets.
Sources indicated that the Cabinet line-up is likely to be revealed next Wednesday before being announced on the floor of the National Assembly by Speaker Justin Muturi and then being forwarded for vetting to the Committee on Appointments.
With more than 10 days having passed since President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto were sworn into office, the Nation learnt that the delay in appointing a Cabinet was caused by haggling over the allocation of portfolios in a restructured government.
Allies of President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto revealed that the Jubilee Coalition partners were still haggling over which side should cede some seats to smaller parties with which it signed post-election deals to tighten its hold on Parliament.
On Thursday, interviews with allies of the two leaders indicated that they had decided to overhaul the entire structure of the administration they found in place in what is being referred to as “government re-engineering”.
This, sources said, will go beyond naming of a new Cabinet and principal secretaries to involve ambassadors and high commissioners, heads of state corporations and top positions at the level of directors in ministries and departments.
The outcome, it was said, will be to put in place a new government that resonates with the key pillars of the Jubilee manifesto, at the same time satisfying constitutional dictates.
This means that Kenyans will see a fresh Cabinet, new principal secretaries (formerly permanent secretaries), ambassadors, chief executives of state corporations and directors of departments who will be tasked to drive policies geared towards achieving promises laid down in the Jubilee manifesto.
Some ambassadors and high commissioners who were recalled, ostensibly for consultations on foreign policy, may not find their way back to their posts.
The “government re-engineering” has also to take into consideration the 50:50 power sharing deal signed ahead of the elections by Jubilee Coalition partners — President Kenyatta’s TNA and Deputy President Ruto’s URP.
On Thursday, President Kenyatta reduced the number of ministries from 44 to 18, keeping his pledge of a lean and efficient administration. Some ministries were merged as others were retained as distinct dockets.
Said the Presidential Press Services dispatch: “The reduced structure is geared towards achieving a lean, efficient and effective Executive branch of government.”
Mr Kenyatta renamed the Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration as Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, which he retained in his office.
He also merged the ministries of Local Government and that of Planning to form the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, which also falls under the Office of the President.
The ministries of Defence; Foreign Affairs; Information, Communication and Technology (ICT); and Sports, Culture and the Arts were unveiled as stand-alone dockets.
The ministry of Finance was renamed the National Treasury; ministries of Medical Services and Public Health brought under a single ministry of Health, while Basic Education and Higher Education were collapsed into one docket which will include the department of Science and Technology.
Transport, Roads and Public Works were merged into the Transport and Infrastructure ministry, while Water Resources and the Environment and Natural Resources were lumped together.
The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum was retained, while a new Ministry of Mining was created.
However, the Nation learnt that the restructuring has created complications as some plum dockets that were allocated to URP in the pre-election deal moved to the TNA side.
This is being resisted by the URP, which got most influential ministries in the deal that saw Mr Ruto drop his presidential bid in support of President Kenyatta. Ministries in question include Finance, Roads and Public Works, and Energy and Mineral Resources.
Mr Muturi said he expects the Committee on Appointments to be named on Tuesday next week in readiness to receive the list of the proposed Cabinet from the President.
The crucial committee on vetting state officers will have the Speaker as its chairman.
The committee is set to vet more than 300 nominees for Cabinet slots, principal secretaries and envoys in the next two to three weeks.