After the swearing in of the new 51 Principal Secretaries on Friday, President William Ruto has literally finished constituting his executive. This team will help him deliver on the ambitious promises he gave Kenyans while on the campaign trail.
The task ahead of them is therefore enormous, considering the high expectations Kenyans have on the Kenya Kwanza administration, which rode into power on the bottom-up approach. Majority of Kenyans are at the bottom of the economic ladder and they are looking for a lift up.
The appointment of the Principal Secretaries was a key step in ensuring a functional government since they are the ones tasked with direct running of ministries. The PSs also coordinate the general functioning of respective departments within the operational guidelines of government policies and ensure effective deliverance of the government’s mandate, under the direction of the Cabinet Secretary.
In the absence of PSs, some CSs have been issuing populist, roadside announcements on key government agenda. Indeed, some Cabinet Secretaries have been forced to backtrack after realising the folly of their pompous statements meant to please some quarters.
The success or failure of the Kenya Kwanza regime will largely depend on the diligence of the 51 men and women who took their oaths of office on the steps of State House, last Friday.
As President Ruto noted, Kenyans have high expectations of his administration to lessen the cost of living, create employment for millions of youth, turn around the economy and generally deliver on “The Plan”, which he unveiled on June 30. On that day, he pledged not to any one behind in the empowerment process. Time to deliver is now.
While there have been concerns about failure by the appointments to take into account factors such as regional balance and representation of marginalised groups, the PSs should know that they are expected to serve all the 53 million Kenyans, equally.
As the President noted, the responsibilities and positions vested in them are “not private, family or communal positions, but an opportunity to serve the entirety of the people of Kenya.”
They should also bear in mind that as accounting officers in their respective dockets, they are the ones who will be expected to ensure prudent use of financial and other resources. In the past, we have seen many of their predecessors hauled before the courts to answer to charges of corruption and theft of funds.
While the CSs are also expected to take political responsibility of their dockets, the PSs should also be ready to deliver on specific development projects and take ownership of all successes or failures of the Kenya Kwanza government.
In short, the 51 Principal Secretaries must be ready to roll up their sleeves or be relieved of their duties.