Someone must do something pretty fast to get rid of this bloated government if we are to survive the global financial recession. I’m not advocating for a coup, but an urgent trimming of the Cabinet. The onus here lies with the two principals, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who early last year came up with the monster allegedly for the sake of peace.
Kenya has since then been boasting of a dubious distinction of having one of the largest cabinets in the world – a country of 30 million people being governed by a President, a Prime Minister, two Deputy Prime Ministers, 42 Ministers and 52 Assistant Ministers.
With the current global economic crisis, the two principals should be told that the bloated Cabinet is a load Kenyans cannot carry any longer. Kenyans who finance almost 95 percent of government expenditure need every coin of the tax money to improve their living standards and not to pamper the ruling class.
Kenyans should say no to excuses given that the bloated Cabinet is part of the price for peace despite the inherent economic ruin. The two principals should be told that MPs were elected to represent electorates, and not to take part in wasteful government expenditure on the pretext of power sharing. Do we really need 93 Members of Parliament as Ministers and Assistant Ministers?
There is no other opportunity to trim this monster than now, when the government has admitted that it is broke. The current cash crunch being witnessed by Government is a blessing in disguise. This is the best time for the government to cede ground and come up with reforms in the management of its coffers, after a most reckless one year of spending and wastage.
The government should also be told to focus on its development function and cease to operate like its key mandate is only to tax Kenyans, and rush to spend their hard-earned money on issues that don’t generate direct revenue i.e. senior staff salaries, welfare and pensions.
Imagine the huge cuts that will be realised if the Cabinet was to be trimmed to 12. The move will save billions of shillings from the huge salaries, expensive fuel guzzling cars, hospitality, furniture, travel allowances etc that we spend on pampering our wealthy ministers.
Kenyans must also ensure that the new constitution sets a maximum number of Cabinet Ministers so that the trend of rewarding political cronies is done away with in future.
Messrs Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga should immediately reshuffle the Cabinet and appoint only 12 Ministers.
The two principals could start by sacking all corrupt individuals from Cabinet. Next they should sack the non-performers and then thirdly those who constantly bicker. Those who engage in the above should be quietly told that their services are no longer needed and be given commendation letters to look for jobs elsewhere.
The two principals should move fast, without fear or favour and trim this monster!