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New Uhuru appointees idle as taxpayers bear burden of pay

By Jacob Ng’etich | Published Sun, May 20th 2018 at 00:00, Updated May 19th 2018 at 23:30 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta

In summary

  • The President created the position of CAS and appointed politicians who lost in the last elections
  • State offers expected to work with Cabinet Secretaries to coordinate affairs of their respective ministries
  • Confusion in government due delay in releasing an executive order

Delay by President Uhuru Kenyatta to issue an Executive Order that will clearly assign roles to Cabinet Secretaries, Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) and Principal Secretaries (PS) and other senior government officials is causing confusion five months after appointment.

While appointing the CSs and PSs in January, President Kenyatta also created a new office for CASs in every ministry, which called for revision of the roles of senior officers in the top positions.

Some of the CASs, a position filled by politicians who lost their seats in the last General Election, confessed to the Sunday Standard that they spend most of their time idling, waiting to represent a CS or PS who doesn’t show up for a function.

In 2013, the President released an Executive Order number two clearly detailing the roles of the ministries and the institutions less than a month after he had appointed part of his Cabinet in the first term. However, in naming his Cabinet in the second term, Kenyatta reorganised the government increasing the ministries from 19 to 21.

In the absence of the Executive Order there is a risk of duplication of roles in ministries, parastatals and state departments.

However, State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu noted that the government was moving smoothly and there was no delay in assigning of duties.

“The government is moving smoothly, everyone knows what they are supposed to do,” said Mr Esipisu.

But activist John Githongo said: “The ministries risk duplicity of roles.”

Esipisu defended government as it emerged that CASs who President Kenyatta said would help the Cabinet Secretaries to better coordinate the affairs of their respective ministries are yet to know their roles.

Trappings of power

The positions were largely given to politicians who supported President Kenyatta’s re-election but lost their political bids in line with the need of having a government that reflects the diversity of our nation it is now apparent that most CASs are ‘idle and bored.

“We do not have anything to do, sometimes when the Cabinet Secretary is busy, they can assign you to represent them in an event that they will not be attending,” said said one CAS who sought anonymity.

He said with all the trappings of power including cars, staff and security, they were an idle lot and wondered when the President would direct them on their clear roles.

“Sometimes you come to the office take tea, meet some visitors go for lunch and that is it, sometimes we do not go back there after because there is little to do,” he said.

Most of the CASs were politicians who lost in the last election and therefore their former supporters offer them company that helps them take away the idle Monday to Friday.

Kenyatta is yet to name six PSs and three CAS as part of the final composition of his government. This include PSs for Information and Communication, Enterprise and Development, and Water and Sanitation, East African Community and Northern Development, Tourism, Fisheries and Irrigation.

The CASs yet to be named include that of Defence Ministry, Tourism and Information and Communication who will work alongside the 21 CSs.

In the first term, the president had 19 CSs and it will only take an executive order for clarity to prevail including in ministries that were split.

Currently it will be difficult to gauge the performance of the CASa. The performance contracts will outline how they will execute their roles in line with Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda — universal affordable healthcare, housing, food security and a strong manufacturing sector.

“Every person entrusted with public resources will keenly be monitored. If any corruption is detected, drastic punitive action will be taken,” said the President.  

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