President Uhuru Kenyatta has handed Fred Matiang'i sweeping powers on the oversight of Government programmes, signalling his confidence in the Interior Cabinet Secretary in his final term in office that will shape his legacy.
In his new role, Dr Matiang'i will chair a key committee on the implementation of development programmes, whose membership includes all Cabinet secretaries, the Attorney General and Head of the Public Service, a mandate that a Government insider said essentially elevates him to a "prime minister or chief minister."
The president's move, however, drew mixed reaction from a cross section of leaders with some of Deputy President William Ruto allies saying it could be a move to undermine the DP.
The president delegated the powers to Matiang’i in an Executive Order that for the first time hands a CS an expansive responsibility to chair and coordinate government development programmes and projects.
With four years left to his presidency Uhuru is keen to streamline operations within his Cabinet to help deliver the Big Four Agenda.
According to Executive Order number 1 of 2019 signed in Mombasa on Monday, Matiang’i will report to the President.
Matiang'i will now chair the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee whose vice-chairperson will be National Treasury and Planning CS Henry Rotich.
Members of the committee include all Cabinet Secretaries, Attorney General Paul Kihara while Head of the Public Service forms the secretariat.
“The composition of the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee and other specified committees for delivery and oversight of national government development programmes and projects shall be organised as set out in the structure detailed in the schedule hereto,” read part of the order.
According to insiders, the president met Matiang’i in Mombasa on Sunday where they discussed the new roles.
“The functions are now broad and show some level of confidence in Matiang’i and his team,” said an insider who knows the developments in Government.
The move comes at a time that Uhuru is rushing to implement his Big Four Agenda against tight budgetary allocations. Yesterday, the president addressed security chiefs in Mombasa telling them national unity, development, security and zero tolerance to corruption were national priorities in the next four years.
"I have given you authority to deal with anyone, and I mean anyone, coming to give you funny orders," Uhuru is reported to have told them.
The Big Four Agenda items are food security, manufacturing (mainly focusing on job creation), affordable universal healthcare and affordable housing.
In his new powerful role, Matiang’i will now provide supervisory leadership throughout the delivery circle of all national government programmes and projects.
He will also receive and deliberate on reports from the National Development Implementation Technical Committee and provide timely guidance on appropriate measures to address challenges constraining effective implementation and delivery of projects.
Matiang’i, as the chairman, will also monitor and evaluate follow-up mechanisms for resources allocated for the projects to ensure proper utilisation and realisation of the targeted outcome. He will also provide coordinated strategic communication to the public and other stakeholders on the progress of the projects.
The CS will prepare accurate and timely progress reports for presentation to the president and perform other functions as directed by the president.
The president met the country’s top security members and provincial administrators yesterday in Mombasa where he also revealed the new Executive Order to those present.
The president said for efficient co-ordination and administration of national government development programmes and projects across the republic and for proper discharge of executive authority across the nation, there is need to establish implementing and coordinating committees at various levels.
These include the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee, the National Development Implementation Technical Committee, eight regional development implementation co-ordination committee and that of 47 county ones.
The president said there is need to foster greater co-ordination and harmonisation in the implementation of national government development programmes and projects under the Medium Term Plan Three with focus on the Big Four Agenda.
“It is necessary to issue a Presidential Executive Order to provide for the framework for facilitating effective oversight, co-ordination, implementation, administration and supervision of government development programmes and projects,” the president said.