RUTO TO RETAIN THESE CABINET SECRETARIES.
The last time President Uhuru Kenyatta’s full Cabinet met and details of the meeting made public was in May 2022, nearly three months before the election.
Ever since, Cabinet Secretaries have been winding down their tour of duty in readiness for transition.
With the term of the appointing authority coming to an end at the inauguration of the fifth president, the CSs are now left to wind down their tenure.
At least four Cabinet Secretaries still reported on duty on Thursday, albeit at scaled down activities.
These are Simon Chelugui (Labour), Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Farida Karoney (Lands) and Mutahi Kagwe (Health).
CS Kagwe even signed off a statement updating the country on the state of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
However, some of the CSs told of conclusion of office duties and are now waiting to hand over to their successors when appointed.
Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa says he is ready with his hand over notes, waiting for the day; while Prof. Margaret Kobia of the Public Service ministry says, “Once the (former) president has left State House, CSs are in office just waiting to hand over. CSs can be consulted but it is Principal Secretaries that remain doing day-to-day administration of their state departments.”
CS Kobia says government services must continue smoothly during the transition.
Part of the CSs believe that the term of a CS ends when a new CS has been sworn in to succeed them, just like the term of a President ends when a new one has been sworn in; that they remain as caretaker ministers and thus must scale down their activities but just enough to ensure that delivery of government services continues.
Another group of the CSs, some of whom have since stopped reporting to their offices daily, say that the term of a CS ends with the outgoing president, since they are now appointees of the new president.
These CSs believe that they no longer have executive power delegated to them by a president; as such PSs are responsible for running ministerial departments.
Even then, these CSs believe that the new president could reach out to an exiting CS for consultation and if necessary, CSs who succeed can consult them when the time comes.
During the transition, the Head of Public Service issued directives that CSs shall not pronounce any new policies for their ministries.
He also said that exiting CSs shall not travel out of the country on official duty, meaning they cannot travel to represent the government of Kenya.
The circular also limited expenditure by the CSs within the ministries to a maximum of Ksh.50 million, and that for anyone to spend more than that, they must seek clearance from the National Treasury.
It is understood that the tenure of Chief Administrative Secretaries (CASs) has since ended since they used to take instructions from the CSs who no longer now have full executive powers.
Majority of the CSs have since prepared their handing over notes detailing achievements made during their tenure, existing gaps with recommendations on where the new CSs could focus on.
On Friday last week, four days before President William Ruto’s inauguration, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i penned a letter to senior officials within the security sector thanking them for the time they served together.
Matiang’i wrote: “I exit Harambee House richer from shared knowledge of public institutions and a valuable contact base of men and women whose wealth of training and exposure has given me renewed sense of purpose.”
“The dawn of a new administration is at hand. I invite you to take deserved pride in your role as security providers for supporting delivery of the most peaceful election in Kenya’s history,” he added.
Sources say CS Matiang’i has since been away from Harambee House, the Office of the President.
In the letter, he dispelled claims of security sector interference in the elections. He wrote: “Despite immense criticism, scorn and false accusations of scheming to manipulate and interfere with the General Election, our sector put up a stellar & professional performance in supporting IEBC.”
There has however been no instructions to any CS to stop reporting to duty.
Once President Ruto names his Cabinet nominees, they will be subjected to vetting by the National Assembly’s committee on appointments, which is yet to be established.
It is only after approval by Parliament that such nominees will be appointed and sworn in to take over from their predecessors.
Serving Principal secretaries will remain in office until new ones have been appointed. Theirs is a lengthy process that must commence with interviews by the Public Service Commission which will recommend a list of qualifying candidates to the President.
The President will pick nominees and transmit their names to Parliament which through departmental committees will vet them and should they approve them, then Ruto can appoint and swear the PSs in and relieve the exiting Kenyatta PSs who will not make a comeback.
By Citizen digital
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