Cabinet Secretaries and other top government officials Thursday began a four-day retreat in Nanyuki as President William Ruto’s administration seeks to synergise its operations.
The meeting, held at the Fairmont Mt Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, is also being attended by Principal Secretaries and members of the advisory council.
Thursday’s session saw facilitators with a vast knowledge of government bureaucracy take the new appointees through its structures and workings.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi who has over 30 years of experience in government opened the session, which saw facilitators such as National Security Advisor Monicah Juma take attendees through national security, governance productivity and delivery topics.
Antony Muchiri, the chairperson of Public Service Commission, also enlightened the attendants on human resource management and productivity while former Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai and former Chief Justice David Maraga tackled governance and law topics.
Owing to the engaging nature of the public service, Dr John Ceaser Mwangi, the Strathmore Business School Dean, took the dignitaries through integrating work life balance lessons.
Get down to business
Today, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is expected to outline Kenya Kwanza administration plan for the country before ushering in President William Ruto who will outline the economy and implementation of his administration’s priorities of the year 2023.
Speaking on the sidelines of the retreat, Mudavadi said the session was of great significance at the start of the year ‘since it will not only help the new appointees bond but also put politics behind for work’.
“We want to put politics behind and prevent scenarios where government officials talk every time and people get down to serious business of delivering the campaign pledges,” said Mudavadi.
At the retreat, Mudavadi said, leaders from different departments will also be taught how to work harmoniously as a team and prevent embarrassing goofs.
“We want State departments to read from the same book. We don’t want a government where one thinks he is not concerned with what is going on in another department,” said Mudavadi.
In the past few months, Cabinet Secretaries Mithika Linturi (Agriculture) and Moses Kuria (Trade) have appeared to read from different scripts over the importation of genetically modified maize.
While Kuria made a public pronouncement that his ministry planned to allow the importation of GMO maize if farmers do not release maize from their stores, Linturi distanced himself from the matter, saying he was not aware of such plans.
“I am the custodian of the ministry and am not ready to answer to what is being reported in social media,” Mr Linturi said then. Without direct reference to any exact issue, Mudavadi said there will be synergy and harmonisation of broad government issues after the retreat.
He added that the Kenya Kwanza administration has categorised its agenda into 15 pillars and through the retreat, priority agendas will be picked while the strategy to implement the long-term master plan will be established.
Linturi said he hoped the retreat will come up with a work plan to involve other ministries to lower the cost of living.
“We are in the process of establishing the number of farmers who we shall work with to increase food production and this needs collaboration with other ministries. To minimise food deficit in this country each one of us must play a critical role,” the CS said.
Water Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome said there is “need for clarity on the government’s plan”.
“This retreat will respond to the issue even as we understand government better,” she said.
Kipchumba Murkomen (Roads and Transport) said the retreat will also enlighten government officials on the limitations of their constitutional duties ‘’so that they don’t bring trouble to their respective ministries and to themselves’’.
“For the few months I have served in the ministry, I have noted that one can’t operate autonomously and we want to learn at what point do we engage other departments. We execute but also account and we want to know when to apply breaks to prevent creation of legal loopholes,” said Murkomen.
Cooperative CS Simon Chelugui said the sessions will help government officials to put the Kenya Kwanza manifesto into an action plan.
“While we have independent ministries, we must complement each other and that is why we are here,” he said.