, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 –The naming of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s new-look administration has continued to attract varied opinions from different interest groups.
With only thirteen cabinet slots left after nine nominees were unveiled last week Friday, attention for top government jobs is expected to shift to parastatal boards as hundreds of appointees, among them chairpersons, exit in April after serving their three-year terms.
In his Friday announcement, Kenyatta retained CSs Henry Rotich (National Treasury), Najib Balala (Tourism), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure), Charles Keter (Energy and Petroleum) and Fred Matiangi (Interior and Coordination of National Government) and Joe Mucheru (Information and Communication) even as he unveiled three new nominees.
Other than moving Matiangi from the education docket to security, Kenyatta named former legislator John Munyes, former Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani and Keriako Tobiko (immediate former Director of Public Prosecutions) as cabinet nominees.
The fate of thirteen Cabinet Secretaries is still unknown with Kenyatta’s announcement that he had retained six ministers last week appearing to suggest the definite exit from the Cabinet of those excluded, including Foreign Affairs CS Ambassador Amina Mohamed.
Already some of the boards have had acting Chairpersons since mid-2017 following the withdrawal of occupants thereof to contest for various elective seats in the August 8 General Election.
The Coast Water Services Board, for instance, has had Sureya Hersi as acting Chairperson after Granton Samboja resigned and successfully contested for the Taita Taveta governorship.
West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio also left his post at the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in July 2017 after chairing the KCAA board since his appointment in April 2015.
Poghisio who won the seat on a Kenya African National Union (KANU) ticket after beating Jubilee Party’s Julius Murgor was replaced by Joseph Nkadayo.
Marsden Madoka, a close ally of President Kenyatta whose ties with the Kenyatta family date back to President Jomo Kenyatta’s rule is also set to exit the Kenya Ports Authority board in April when his term comes to an end.
Musikari Kombo, a former minister will be winding up his tenure at the Water Services Trust Fund in April.
In total, there are about 300 board membership slots that will fall vacant by April, with those who supported Kenyatta’s re-election campaign expected to seek them.
Enhanced pay perks for these jobs following a review of salaries by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) coupled with huge budgetary allocations may further intensify the scramble for the positions.
A circular from the National Treasury in December last year suggested that the government was considering making provisions for the new payment stipends which range from between Sh100,000 to Sh150,000, up from Sh60,000 to Sh80,000.
In a letter dated December 7, the National Treasury asked accounting officers of State corporations to prepare their budgets factoring in the new salary guidelines for approval.
“We should not deny youths who are seeking these positions so long as they have the potential and are qualified,” Meshack Kimutai, a Nairobi-based businessman who contested for a parliamentary seat in last year’s election without success told Capital FM News on Friday.
Former Budalangi lawmaker Ababu Namwamba, Kilifi North’s Gideon Mung’aro, immediate former Taita Taveta Senator Dan Mwazo and ex-governor John Mruttu are among those who hope to secure appointments after losing their seats.
Whereas Namwamba and Mung’aro are seen as potential cabinet nominees to replace Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Dan Kazungu (Mining) after they were omitted last week in what President Kenyatta said was a list of retained ministers, Mwazo and Mruttu are seen as potential nominees for various State agencies.
Coast Water Services Board is just but one of the parastatals the two could take charge of.
Various interest groups have already started lobbying for positions under the guise of inclusivity and gender balance.
The Women Candidates’ Network Kenya Thursday issued a statement calling for the appointment at least eight women to President Kenyatta’s cabinet.
The National Super Alliance (NASA) has also not been left behind in the crusade for inclusivity, Moses Wetangula, the Senate Minority leader saying on Thursday that all appointments should be anchored on regional balancing.
“Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto must know that this country does not belong to them. It belongs to the 45 million Kenyans and 43 communities in this nation,” Wetangula said during a meeting with women leaders of the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy – Kenya (FORD-K) party in Nairobi.
“When you sit down to appoint cabinet members, it matters not whether you got votes in Luo Nyanza or Ukambani: we need to see Luos and Kambas in your cabinet,” the FORD-K leader said adding, “don’t go and pick sycophants, pick people who are respected”.
Wetangula asked Kenyatta and Ruto to open up to NASA saying the challenges faced by the country cannot be solved exclusively by either NASA or Jubilee.