On the Cabinet Secretary Nominees

Posted by on 29th April 2013

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It is not really surprising that the process of nominating Cabinet Secretaries took as long as it did or that there were continued delays during the nomination process itself. While the government may not be a coalition government in the traditional sense i.e. where parties form a coalition after an election, it is a government that is made up of a coalition of parties, with a 50-50 power sharing agreement. The implication being that behind the matching shirts and ties we saw during the announcement of the first 4 nominees a fair amount of negotiating about who would make the final list of nominees probably went on.

After all the delays 16 out of 18 nominations for the post of Cabinet Secretary have been made leaving only two positions (Interior & Co-ordination of National Government and Labour, Social Security & Services) to be announced. If the Cabinet nominees make it through the appointment process it will be a cabinet of mostly new faces and proportionally more women than there have been in previous cabinets.

6 out of the 18 Cabinet Secretary nominees are women and the nominees are mostly new faces with the exception of nominee of the Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Najib Balala, who has previously run 4 Ministries and is a career politician. And nominee for Cabinet Secretary for Land, Housing and Urban Development, Charity Ngilu, who was Member of Parliament for Kitui Central Constituency for 20 years and is the former Minister of Water, Irrigation as well as a former Minister of Health. One wonders if their record of performance in the running of these Ministries will come up during the vetting process.

Kudos to the new administration for the nomination of women, and on the new faces however the issue has been raised on how representative of the country the Cabinet nominees are. Section 130 (2) of the constitution requires the composition of the National Executive, “reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya” and this is where is the nominations have drawn most criticism. According to the Standard the MPs from “the Maasai and Samburu communities and Deputy Minority leader in the National Assembly Jakoyo Midiwo, said the Assembly would reject the names unless President Uhuru Kenyatta revises the list.”

This is of course significant, why? Unlike before when the members of the cabinet were unilaterally appointed by the President, this time parliament as to approve the list of nominees before the nominees can be appointed. So nomination is just the first stage in the appointment of Cabinet secretaries; the Cabinet nominees still have to be vetted by the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments and the public, in keeping with the section 118 (1) (b) of the constitution that requires Parliament to facilitate public participation and involvement in the legislative and other business of Parliament and its committees.

The speaker of the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has confirmed that the public will be consulted on suitability of Cabinet nominees. Public hearings on the nominees for Cabinet Secretaries will take place over a seven-day period at a venue in Nairobi that is yet to be announced. “The Speaker shall give a communication from the chair forwarding the names to the Committee on Appointments, which will issue a notice through the Clerk of the National Assembly inviting members of the public to give their views on the proposed names.”

What are your thoughts on the Cabinet Secretary nominees?

Find the Profiles for the nominees here – http://www.scribd.com/doc/137564995/Cabinet-Secretaries-Nominees-CVs  and here ­- http://www.scribd.com/doc/137909381/Cabinet-Secretary-Nominees-CV-s-Part-2