Picking Cabinet next challenge for Jubilee leadership

Monday March 11 2013

PHOTO | JOAM PERERUAN President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy Mr William Ruto (left) and other leaders including Cabinet minister Sam Ongeri (centre) and former MP Najib Balala at the Catholic University of East Africa on March 9, 2013.

PHOTO | JOAN PERERUAN President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy Mr William Ruto (left) and other leaders including Cabinet minister Sam Ongeri (centre) and former MP Najib Balala at the Catholic University of East Africa on March 9, 2013. Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto had a pre-election deal on sharing of Cabinet positions. NATION MEDIA GROUP

By EDITH FORTUNATE [email protected] AND DAVE OPIYO [email protected]

President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President-elect William Ruto will have to consider many factors as they plan to pick nominees of their 21-member Cabinet.

The highlights of the agreement signed between The National Alliance (TNA) and the United Republican Party (URP) are a 50-50 sharing of Cabinet and Civil Service positions.

The two parties are yet to give details about how they will share out the Cabinet portfolios.

However, TNA will nominate the candidate for Speaker of the National Assembly while URP will nominate one for the Senate Speaker’s slot.

For the first time since independence, members of the Cabinet have to be selected from outside Parliament. If an MP or Senator accepts an appointment as a Cabinet Secretary, he or she will have relinquish his elective office.

According to university lecturers Macharia Munene and Nyaga Kindiki, their new Cabinet should ideally consist of both politicians and technocrats. The law also requires it to reflect the diversity of Kenya.

“In governance issues, you can never ignore politicians. It is important that they also includes those with the required political awareness in the country,” Prof Munene told the Daily Nation.

“These politicians should also have the expertise to handle the dockets they have been nominated to. They should also be committed to do the work they have been assigned,” he said.

Prof Kindiki said the government will also require those who have the ability to mobilise support politically for their leader.

“It doesn’t have to always be those who will be working in the office all the time,” he said.

The President-elect will also have to consider regional and gender balance and also reward loyalty. The law requires that at least a third of all public office be members of either gender.

Allied to Mr Kenyatta

Some of the current ministers who have been re-elected include Defence minister Yusuf Haji, Internal Security minister Katoo ole Mitito, Gender minister Naomi Shaban, Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi and Nairobi Metropolitan minister Jamleck Kamau. All are allied to Mr Kenyatta.

If the president-elect is to reward loyalty he is likely consider his key allies who lost in last week’s election including Water minister Charity Ngilu and Mvita MP Najib Balala.

On Sunday, the chairman of the committee on assumption to the Office of the President, Mr Francis Kimemia, said the post-Kibaki government will have a lean but powerful Cabinet with 21 members.

Mr Kimemia said his team had already shared the 13 principles for guidance in forming the next government with Mr Kenyatta. Some of the principles are not final and are still under formulation.

Some of the principles include: National sovereignty, legitimacy, unity and security, separation of powers, stability and harmonious transition, system of government, delivery of constitutional obligations, Constitution schedule 4, innovativeness and creativity in the context of history, budget considerations, span of control and economies of scale, efficiency and effectiveness, functional complementarity, Vision 2030, emerging trends and challenges and an open government.

“This is what we have at the moment as we prepare for a legal and orderly handover to the new President. He should have something that guides him based on the Constitution, economy and country’s development,” said Mr Kimemia.

Already the Kimemia-led team has come up with a draft of 21 proposed ministries which were among the issues they discussed with Mr Kenyatta. But the incoming president will determine the ministries to be created.

“It was strategic, we figured out that we might have forgotten an important ministry, or the president-elect might want to come up with something totally different.

“We did not go for the minimum 14 ministries because of the size of our economy; we have to create a government that will give service to all, separate power, remain innovative, share information and at the same time remain lean,” said Mr Kimemia.

New names will be used for the 21 ministries which will have a different structure from current ones to ensure efficiency and reduce duplication of duties and responsibilities.

“The ministries we have set up are competent. Aside from Cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries, we will have very senior deputy secretaries to ensure the mandate of the proposed ministries is adhered to full capacity,” said Mr Kimemia in an interview with the Nation.

“They will head the powerful departments in the specific ministries,” he said.

In the new structure, related ministries have been merged and ministerial functions restructured.

According to the Kimemia committee, the structures have been strengthened to enhance service delivery.

According to Article 152 of the Constitution, future Cabinets will comprise between 14 and 22 Cabinet secretaries — who will no longer be known as ministers. Also to sit in Cabinet is the President, his/her deputy and the Attorney General. None of the members will hold elective political seats as is the case now.