William Ruto allies among names in new PSC shortlist amid public outcry

PSC’s Commission House Headquarters on Harambee Avenue, Nairobi. [File, Standard]

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is in the eye of a major storm after it added 108 applicants to a shortlist of Kenyans wishing to be principal secretaries long after it had concluded the exercise.

The action by the PSC sparked outrage after it emerged that it had expanded the original list of 477, padding it to 585.

The discontent and outcry among the public arose after the new list contained names of allies to President William Ruto, persons linked to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and losers from the August General Election.

Some of the names featuring in the new list include IEBC commissioner Boya Molu, Ministry of Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi, former Narok Governor Samuel Tunai, political analyst Edward Kisiang’ani, former Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, former Foreign Affairs PS Chris Kiptoo, and Environment and Forestry PS Micah Pkopus Powon.

Others are PS Ministry of Devolution and Planning Michael Kibet Kiptoo, former Kenya Medical Training College CEO Kirimi Kaberia, Dr Andrew Mulwa, Alfred Ombudo and Dr Irene Asienga, the brains behind the bottom-up economic model.

University vice-chancellors, scholars and media consultants are among Kenyans who applied to serve as Principal Secretaries in various ministries under the Kenya Kwanza government.

The release of the 108 new shortlisted candidates raises questions on the rationale behind adding more individuals to a list that was already crowded by PSs who served under the Jubilee government, parastatal chiefs and politicians.

With a politician-heavy cabinet as far as President Ruto’s nominations go, the move by PSC to have additional politicians added to the list of shortlisted PS candidates raises questions on how the Kenya Kwanza government would run the ministries.

Efforts to reach PSC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Simon Rotich through text and phone calls to explain the why the commission added the extra names got only one response.

“Can I call you later?” texted the CEO who was later inaccessible through his phone.

This comes under the backdrop of a move by President Ruto to award political loyalists who were instrumental in securing him his win in the previous General Election.

Alfred Mutua, Moses Kuria, Kithure Kindiki, Peninah Malonza, Mithika Linturi, Ezekiel Machogu, Soipan Tuya, Aden Duale, Kipchumba Murkomen, Florence Bore, Aisha Jumwa, Alice Wahome, Eliud Owalo, Ababu Namwamba, Salim Mvurya and Justin Muturi who was nominated for Attorney General, all played a critical role in the president's ascend to the high office.

But even as Ruto returns some of the favours owed, there are still some that are begging to be paid. In this way, the president has made public his intentions to retain the office of CAS which was introduced by former president Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018 to reward his political cronies.

Despite the position being declared unconstitutional by the High Court over failing to involve citizen participation in the creation of the position, PSC has called on members of the public to submit their views on the proposed establishment of the position of CAS even as the government plans to enshrine the position in law.

Almost a month since his inauguration, President William Ruto's government has not yet been fully constituted even as Kenyans await the fulfilment of promises issued by the Kenya kwanza government during their campaigns.

PSC announced the interviews for Principal Secretaries' positions will be held from October 12 to October 22.

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