Two months after President Kenyatta was sworn in, Kenyans are still eagerly awaiting for a fully constituted cabinet. Succession politics and delivery of election pledges seem to be shaping President Uhuru Kenyatta’s choice of cabinet secretaries and other senior government officials as lobbying and intrigues delay naming of the new team. Parliament has already cleared the first hurdle on Thursday when it passed the motion to allow the names of cabinet secretary nominees to be sent straight to the committee on appointments without recalling parliament, which has taken a break until February.
Anxiety continues to grip the nation over the remaining cabinet slots. Two months after his swearing in the President is yet to name his full cabinet .This is contrary to 2013 when the announced his cabinet in a fortnight.
While President Kenyatta has already identified four key areas his administration will be focusing on over the next five years, his deputy president William Ruto is keen on pleasing some voting blocs in the cabinet appointments to have a head start for 2022.
In addition, President Kenyatta is under pressure to form a cabinet that represents the face of Kenya, with sources indicating that some politicians, who lost in political party primaries of Jubilee party and defectors lobbying for consideration.
According to the constitution, President Kenyatta can only constitute a cabinet of 22 while principal secretaries are appointed by the public service commission. However, difficult choices of fulfilling his pre-election pledges and gentlemen’s agreements with political leaders to marshal support for the August 8th elections and repeat Presidential election leaves President Kenyatta between a rock and hard place.
In 2013, the cabinet positions were shared between the two main coalition partners – The National Alliance and the United Republican Party – which were later dissolved to form Jubilee Party in preparation for re-election campaigns.
Towards the end of 2017, head of Public Service joseph Kinyua had fired a memo to CS’s, PS’s and head of state corporations giving them instructions to prepare hand-over notes. The memo by Kinyua was the clearest indication then that the process of making cabinet appointments by the president was at an advanced stage.
It was expected President Kenyatta would unveil the remaining list of 13 CS’s by close of business on Friday. He had previously retained six CS’s and named three new faces in his new look cabinet. Those who were retained include James Macharia (transport), Fred Matiang’i (interior, acting education), Najib Balala (tourism), Joe Mucheru (ict), Charles Keter (energy) and Henry Rotich (national treasury).