President Uhuru Kenyatta and a team of technocrats have reduced the number of short-listed principal secretaries from 66 to 23.
Mr Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto settled on 23 names as in the new structure of government continued to take shape following the swearing-in of Cabinet Secretaries at State House, Nairobi, last week.
The short-listing took place even as the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) Tuesday moved to court to stop the appointment of the principal secretaries. The organisation is accusing the Public Service Commission (PSC) of ignoring public participation during the interviews.
The PSC presented a list of 66 nominees to President Kenyatta for formal appointment on Friday evening.
According to a source privy to the three day meeting that took place at Sagana State Lodge, the 23 short-listed candidates represent regional and gender balance. They were also selected based on their professional background, merit and experience.
“The 23 nominees have all it takes to be appointed in that capacity according to the team,” the source said. “Any time from now the President will forward the names of those he has chosen to Parliament (for vetting)”.
So far, the list has eight women and 15 men. Further consultation is still taking place before their names can be forwarded for vetting ahead of formal appointment.
“The appointments have to be fast-tracked because the President feels they have lost a lot of time on appointments while they have a duty to Kenyans,” the source said.
The Sagana meeting also revisited the question of the two Cabinet slots that are yet to be filled, with former Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa being fronted to take up the Ministry of Labour.
However, a decision had not been reached on who would take over at Ministry of Interior and National Government Coordination.
Mr Kenyatta is expected to name the two remaining Cabinet Secretaries Wednesday as well as key departments in all the 18 ministries.
Once the President has forwarded the names of the principal secretaries to Parliament, he will proceed to nominate ambassadors.
A major reshuffle is looming in Kenyan embassies across the globe once the Principal Secretaries have been announced and new envoys appointed in a few weeks.
The envoys to be appointed will also have to go through PSC and Parliament for vetting in line with constitutional requirements.
“There will definitely be a reshuffle of envoys since some of them represented different interests and this may sabotage relations. The President also wants individuals with the country’s interest at heart to represent it,” a source said.
Finalised the process
Early this month, PSC chairperson Margaret Kobia said the commission finalised the process of interviewing 155 candidates for the position of principal secretaries on Friday.
“The commission is cleaning up the list. We will work until late and present the list of 66 nominees to President Uhuru Kenyatta for formal appointment,” she said.
Prof Kobia said the commission had considered information from the public and other institutions on the candidates before conducting the interviews.
While short-listing the candidates, it also took into consideration merit, ethnic diversity, gender, people with disabilities and the marginalised. The list of 66 contained 22 women in line with the one-third gender rule.
Among those interviewed were 63 women and nine people with disabilities.
The PSC conducted the interviews from April 29 to May 10.
Prof Kobia said the nominees had also indicated the ministries that they would prefer to work in.