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Uhuru, Ruto set to name new Cabinet

Sarah Ndung’u  and Christine Musa @PeopleDailyke

All Cabinet secretaries have been directed to prepare handover notes of their respective ministries as Kenyans await  the announcement of a new Cabinet team by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto. 

The handover notes are expected to cover key issues, including what the CSs achieved in their tenure, pending development projects, goals and objectives, which are expected to facilitate easier transition pending, either re-appointment or not. The ministers have reportedly been given until the end of this week to file the returns on the status of their respective dockets.

And last evening, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu denied reports on social media platforms that the Cabinet had been dissolved and CSs ordered to hand over to the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua by Thursday.

He clarified that the CSs are still in office but are preparing handover notes.

Sources intimated to the People Daily that the CSs are expected to outline challenges they may have faced affecting the attainment of their targets.

On the other hand, the Public Service Commission (PSC) is expected to meet this week to start shortlisting candidates for appointment as Principal Secretaries.

At the same time, the CSs have been meeting daily to craft medium term budget to help the President prioritise action areas in his initial months in office.

A memo by the National Treasury CS Henry Rotich dated November 29  has identified  universal health coverage, manufacturing, affordable housing, food and nutrition as areas of immediate focus.

“All Cabinet secretaries and accounting officers of commissions and independent offices are expected to participate and defend their budget proposals during the process,” reads Rotich’s memo in part.

Uhuru and Ruto have so far remained tight-lipped over the details of their second Cabinet though reports indicate the new line-up could comprise 20 per cent political figures and the remainder 80 per cent from technocrats and professional circles.

Intense lobbying has been seen to happen among church leaders, power brokers, professionals, business communities, politicians and influential businessmen in an exercise seen as aimed at cushioning  political and business interests in respective regions.

Though it was not immediately clear when the President and his deputy will name the next Cabinet,  anxiety is reportedly high among the incumbents. 

Amid the intense lobbying and anxiety, Senate Deputy Speaker Prof Kithure Kindiki has warned lobbyists against conducting the same through the media. 

Speaking at a burial ceremony at Kigane, South Imenti constituency, Kindiki warned the approach could backfire.

2022 succession

“The prerogative and mandate of nominating rests with the President. Lobbying cannot make him change his mind. Not everyone will make it in the Cabinet but those who will be left out could be given other jobs in parastatals or foreign envoys,” said Kindiki.

Last Friday, the Ameru Professional Association (APA) pleaded for reappointment of Lands Cabinet secretary Jacob Kaimenyi citing  “his proven track record”.

“We appreciate the fact that it is the prerogative of the President to appoint his Cabinet. As he performs this key national duty, we would appreciate the re-appointment of Prof Kaimenyi. If the President finds it necessary and appropriate to honour the Ameru with another Cabinet slot or Principal Secretary, we will also appreciate in a big way,” stated APA.

However, analysts are also pointing out the fact that besides the presidency, a virtual Uhuru/Ruto affair, the  2022 succession politics will have a strong bearing with the President expected to strive to strike a balance that ensures he fulfills his legacy and therefore, picks those he deems fit in the equation   and backing Ruto, and hence those the DP is at ease working with to lay ground for assault on presidency in 2022.

Reports indicate that the Head of State will nonetheless  feel inclined to drop non-performing Cabinet and Principal Secretaries and inject fresh blood to boost his vision for his final term.

It is also emerging that the President will name 22 CSs and increase the number of ministries to the maximum provided for in Article 152 of the Constitution. Currently the Cabinet stands at 19.   MPs are tomorrow expected to put in place the Appointments Committee, which will be tasked with vetting nominated CSs.

The MPs  were scheduled to break for Christmas holiday on Thursday and resume in February next year.

However, a procedural motion could be moved to push the adjournment date to December 21 to facilitate vetting of Cabinet nominees by the appointments committee chaired by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

The House Plenary will then have final say on the Cabinet nominees, before the President makes the appointments.

Nasa lawmakers, however, insist they will not participate in the vetting process, terming the President illegitimate.

And as this happens, the Maa and  Meru communities, as well as those living in Western and Rift Valley, are optimistic of inclusion in the new line-up.

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