Kenya PM criticises grumpy colleagues

November 13, 2009 12:00 am

, MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 13 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has hit out at Cabinet Minister’s who defy the spirit of collective responsibility on issues of national importance and warned them to toe the line.

Speaking during the opening session of a government national leadership retreat in Mombasa on Friday, the Premier noted that some Ministers had developed a habit of turning critics of collective Cabinet decisions.

He said they were using this ploy to gain undue political mileage at the expense of smooth implementation of government policies.

“Cabinet decision are collectively made and must be supported but we have seen Cabinet Ministers and their assistants criticise the government they serve in and even criticise decision they participated in making,” he said.

The PM said that there were still challenges dogging the coalition government but urged them to work past them owing to the unique governance structure and build trust, confidence and respect between conflicting interests in the system.

“We are yet to see a seamless working relationship between Ministers, their Assistants and Permanent Secretaries to promote the priorities of the coalition.  These are the issues that are going to determine whether we fail or succeed,” the Premier said.

He said the performance of ministries determined the government’s legislative and policy agenda, which could only be arrived at through consultative stakeholders’ forums rather than abdicating the role to a small group of people.

Mr Odinga cited cases in some ministries where crucial inputs by stakeholders were left out of policy formulation and implementation processes due to lack of cooperation.

The Premier expressed fears that Kenyans were getting impatient and frustrated by the trend, which he attributed to poor performance in policy formulation and implementations in key ministries.

He called on the need for development of a deliberate policy paper to harmonize the disconnect pitting the top ranking public servants due to mistrust since the inception of the coalition government 18 months ago.

“We are here to remind the non-performing ministries that they are a heavy yolk to the government and they have to shape up and deliver to the citizenry. Kenyans want results-they want it now-they can’t wait,” he told the bonding retreat.

At the same time, Prime Minister Odinga said the coalition had laid the ground for reforms in Land, Administrative and Constituency boundaries, Police, Judicial and Electoral laws and procedures hence the need to remain focused to achieve the goals.

The three-day retreat was ostensibly mooted out of the need to bond the polarised Cabinet to speak in one voice in the wake of conflicting position and interest among members of the government.

The conference hopes to nurture a working relation and cohesion among key government officials to foster better governance in social, political and economic spheres in the country.

President Mwai Kibaki chairs the bonding session, which also invited a team of international experts drawn from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.

The experts are expected to share their experiences of challenges dogging the management of a coalition government with hopes of recommending remedies that could pull the entire government in the same direction.


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