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Kenya ministers resolve to use one voice

MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 14 – Cabinet ministers and their assistants have resolved to foster unity and cohesion by refraining from making adverse public utterances against the coalition government.

In a communiqué issued on Saturday at the end of a three-day national leaders retreat in Mombasa, the ministers and assistant ministers also agreed to avoid utterances that could portray a negative image of the government.

“Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers will individually and collectively lead in upholding and promoting national interests and positive image of the country,” the communiqué said in part.

The retreat which was attended by President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka also resolved that cabinet ministers and assistant ministers shall abide by the principles of collective responsibility.

The ministers and assistant ministers further agreed that they will personally and collectively expedite and facilitate the reform programme of the Government including the new constitution, the boundary review, the national healing and reconciliation process and the Agenda Four.

The national leaders observed the need for the Government to take a common position on the new constitution and to expedite delivery of a constitution that is functional, workable and simple to understand by the Kenyan people.

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The retreat also decided that cabinet ministers and assistant ministers should facilitate and expedite the implementation of the Grand Coalition Government Medium Term Plan and Vision 2030 on the basis of annual delivery targeted results.

“As members of one Government, Cabinet Ministers and Assistant Ministers will support policies and Government bills in public and in Parliament,” the communiqué said. 

The cabinet ministers and assistant ministers resolved further that they will trust and respect each other and any differences will be resolved through internal mechanisms and abide by the code of conduct of ministers and assistant ministers.

The retreat also resolved that cabinet ministers will abide by the oath of secrecy and keep government secrets.
On enhancing communication, the national leaders resolved that the Government will develop a comprehensive Government Communications Strategy that will include Cabinet, ministerial and overall government communication. 

Other resolutions passed during the retreat include holding similar meetings regularly at least twice a year, establishment of Ministerial Management Committees comprising of Cabinet Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Head of Departments in each ministry with the committees meeting at least once a month to deliberate on policies, programmes and activities of the ministry.

On division of duties, it was agreed that assistant ministers will be allocated specific functions in their ministries in addition to their parliamentary responsibilities.

It was also resolved that benefits and privileges of Cabinet Ministers and Assistant Ministers be rationalized and communicated by a circular to Accounting Officers.

The retreat also proposed for further analysis and consideration by the two principals, the formation of conflict resolution mechanisms within the Grand Coalition Government and holding of regular meetings of the Grand Coalition Parliamentary Group.

It also proposed that the Grand Coalition Management Committee should hold regular meetings and develop a Grand Coalition management plan.

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