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Kenya advertises Principal Secretaries’ positions in likely shakeup in government

By Faith Ronoh | April 21st 2015
Public Service chairperson Margaret Kobia

NAIROBI: The Public Service Commission (PSC) has Tuesday advertised positions for principal secretaries fuelling speculation of imminent shakeup of the top officials in President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration.

The announcement came on a day the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) said a decision on whether to prosecute five Cabinet secretaries, four PSs, seven governors, 13 MPs and one senator among others, who are under investigation for alleged corruption, would be made in two weeks.

A Cabinet secretary could however be among those charged next week should the Director of Public Prosecutions accept the EACC recommendations to prosecute officials implicated in graft in the National Social Security Fund's Tassia Project, Immigration Department, Kenya Airport Authority's Greenfield Project and the Judiciary.

But in the advertisement, the PSC does not specify the departments that require principal secretaries.


President Kenyatta created the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to which he nominated Eugene Wamalwa as Cabinet secretary, and for which a principal secretary would be required, but speculation is rife that the push could be informed by the suspension of officials facing the graft probe.

The President has a free hand to nominate a CS, which means vacancies in Cabinet can be filled quickly, but the Constitution prescribes a rigorous recruitment process for recruitment of PSs.

Apart from the likely vacancies that were to arise should the fate of the four principal secretaries who stepped aside for investigations be sealed, another reason likely to inform a ready pool of applicants for the posts is the sacking of more holders.

The principal secretaries who left office temporarily after they were named in the EACC report the President submitted to Parliament last month are Defence PS Mutea Iringo, Nduva Muli (Transport), Patrick Omutia (Mining) and James Teko (Water).

Francis Kimemia has since been sacked as Secretary to the Cabinet and his position taken over by Monica Juma, who was until then Interior PS.

Uhuru also nominated Retired Major-General Gordon Kihalangwa, who was Director of Immigration, to the position of PS, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government. Mr Nzioka Waita was nominated as Secretary of Delivery in the Executive Office of the President.

The PSC advert indicates a principal secretary will be in charge of administration of a State department and details the duties they will be responsible for.

"Article 155(3)(a) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, mandates the Public Service Commission to recommend persons for nomination and appointment as Principal Secretaries by the President. Pursuant to this constitutional provision, the Public Service Commission invites applications from suitably qualified persons who wish to be considered for the position of Principal Secretary," reads the advertisement.

Sources in Government hinted that some of the principal secretaries who stepped aside might not return.

Another major change said to be under consideration is the transfer of parastatals from one ministry to the other.

There are reports on possible creation of three more ministries.

PSC Chair Margaret Kobia (pictured) dispelled fears that some serving PSs would face the axe.

"Since the Government has come up with a new ministry, definitely a PS will be required," Kobia said.

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