Who makes a good minister?

Roseleen Nzioka

Should Members of Parliament lead ministries or should ministries be headed by highly qualified professionals matched to their areas of professional specialisation? Is it a guarantee that if a professional heads a ministry, it will perform effectively or is this just a myth?

In Kenya we can count in one hand, the number of cabinet ministers who actually perform (even averagely) in this country. One outstanding one, the Honourable John Michuki has proved that it is not about having a PhD or writing research papers for presentation at global universities and conferences. It is about getting the job done, whatever it takes.

Kenya has a tradition of appointing ministers from among members of parliament. Members of parliament are elected by their constituents to be just that, MPs. Voters do not elect their MPs based on their professions, effectiveness in leadership or integrity and credibility. MPs are elected on a whole different set of considerations.

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Now when an MP is turned into a minister regardless of his competence, education level, integrity etc, you get one thing and one thing only, one big mess, which is what Kenya has experienced since independence. And now the Parliamentary Select Committee has recommended that half the Cabinet ministers be appointed from among the MPs. Does that really help matters, really?

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