Kenya: Uhuru Kenyatta Starts Crafting His Cabinet

Uhuru Kenyatta William Ruto
Kenya’s president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto

AFRICANGLOBE – President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta is already at work choosing his new Cabinet. He is due to be sworn on March 26, assuming the Supreme Court dismisses the Cord petition against the election.

Key elected politicians are now considering quitting their parliamentary positions to join executive government. However there are only 22 positions in the new Cabinet which have to be split 50-50 between Uhuru’s TNA party and Deputy President-elect William Ruto’s URP party.

Uhuru Kenyatta is supposed to cater for Charity Ngilu and Narc, while Ruto is suppose to provide for Najib Balala and his Republican Congress Party

Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have set up a team of TNA and URP power brokers to look at Cabinet appointments that would cater for political interests while fulfilling constitutional requirements. Charles Keter is heading the URP side while Jamleck Kamau is heading the TNA side.

Their meetings have been running late into the night. Uhuru Kenyatta’s nephew Jomo Gecaga appears to have already taken up the role of Chief of Staff and Private Secretary and was at Uhuru Kenyatta’s side as he and Ruto met various delegations since Monday.

Kenya’s State House political adviser Nancy Gitau, who has been the overall coordinator of the Uhuru Kenyatta campaign, is likely to replace Francis Kimemia as Head of Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary.

There is still debate on who should be the head of the Presidential Press Service and Government Spokesman. Uhuru Kenyatta’s current spokesman Munyori Buku is likely to take up the role of PPS director but Muthui Kariuki is likely to be replaced as spokesman.

Jamleck Kamau, Kigumo MP-elect, and Murugi Esther Murugi, Nyeri town MP-elect, are expected to resign to take up Cabinet posts. Charles Keter, the Kericho Senator-elect, may also quit to join Cabinet.

He is currently coordinating the URP side of the coalition with the elevation of Ruto to Deputy President-elect. Finance minister Njeru Githae, who did not stand in the election after failing to get the TNA Kirinyaga governor nomination, is set to remain at the Treasury.

On Tuesday, Uhuru and Ruto gave Githae the Jubilee manifesto and asked him and his officials to start preparing for its implementation. Yesterday the three met again and Githae briefed Uhuru Kenyatta on key priority areas.

Garissa Township MP-elect Aden Duale may also quit to either become Speaker of the National Assembly or to join the new Cabinet. Others in the race for plum government jobs include Charity Ngilu, Chirau Mwakwere, Najib Balala and Joshua Kuttuny who all lost during the elections.

Raphael Tuju and Eugene Wamalwa, who did not contest any position, have both been proposed as possible cabinet secretaries for Foreign Affairs.

However the Jubilee team is facing pressure from various quarters to bring new dynamic faces in the Cabinet. In making their appointments, Uhuru and Ruto must also respect constitutional requirements for ethnic, regional and gender balance.

The Assumption to the Office of the President Committee presented the Jubilee team a government structure of 21 ministries. The constitution allows for 22 ministries so another ministry can be created in future.

Several ministries have been merged and ministerial functions restructured. According to the Committee, it will strengthen the dispensing of public services to Kenyans.

In the proposal, the Ministry of National Security has merged Internal Security with Defence. Its departments will consist of the National Police Service Commission and the National Intelligence and Defence Council.

The Agriculture Ministry has been combined with five other ministries and will be the largest portfolio in the next government. It will take charge of 40 state functions and have control over 42 parastatals.

The ministry has absorbed the current ministries of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Co-operatives, and Water and Irrigation. Home Affairs docket will take over the ministries of Immigration, National Heritage and Culture, Special Programmes, and Development of Northern Kenya.

It will also take charge of the restructured Provincial Administration including County Co-coordinators, District Commissioners, Chiefs, and Assistant Chiefs.

The Ministry of Local Government has been renamed the Ministry of Devolution and County Governments. The new docket combines the current ministries of Nairobi Metropolitan and Local Government and will take charge of devolution.

The Ministry of East African Community is likely to be merged with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Roads with the Ministry of Public Works.

Industrialisation, Regional Development and Trade will now be under the proposed Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation. Youth Affairs and Sports, Gender, Children and Social Development. Environment, Mineral Resources, Forestry and Wildlife will be within the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

Basic Education and Higher Education will combine under the Ministry of Education. Public Health and Medical Services will merge. However the Justice ministry will remain on its own as will Energy, Tourism, Transport, and Information and Communication.