CABINET SECRETARIES TO FACE MPs ON TUESDAY
The vetting of Cabinet Secretary nominees is expected to start on Tuesday next week when Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi forwards the names to the Committee on Appointments.
Yesterday, Muturi said he has not yet received the list of nominees for the Cabinet slots.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has nominated 16 individuals to serve in his new-look Cabinet. Two slots remain vacant.
Unlike in the past when the President’s nominees were not required to be approved by the House, presidential appointments must now be vetted by the National Assembly, according to the new constitution.
“It is not in my domain to remind the government what ought to be done. I want to believe that by Monday next week, the list will be in my office for necessary action because it is the business of the government to ensure the process is expedited,” said Muturi.
He was speaking to the Star on the phone from Mombasa where he is attending a seminar.
Muturi is expected to communicate to the House once he receives the names and commit them to the appointments committee to scrutinise the nominees.
The vetting process requires public participation.
The committee is expected to notify the nominees and the public of the time and place the vetting will take place at least seven days prior to the hearing.
The committee will then table its report in the House within 14 days of the date on which the notification was received for debate.
“The committee will invite public memoranda to screen the nominees before they are endorsed. But generally the process needs to be fast-tracked so that the Cabinet is in place immediately,” Michael Sialai, senior deputy clerk of the National Assembly said.
The new Cabinet Secretaries assume office with full in-trays once approved by Parliament as President Uhuru shifts focus to his first 100 days promise.
With two and a half months to the expiry of the 100 days, special focus will be on the Education and Health ministries.
James Wainaina has been nominated to the Health docket while Prof Jacob Kaimenyi is expected to take up the Education docket if cleared by Parliament.
Wainaina will have to deal with an acute shortage of doctors and nurses as well as deal with matters relating to equipping the country’s health facilities.
Kaimenyi will to tackle the shortage of teachers as well as their remuneration, lack of adequate facilities in learning institutions and lack of text books in some rural schools.
On the campaign trail, Uhuru and Deputy President promised to develop a framework to direct the Sh6 billion previously allocated for the presidential run-off towards establishing a new Youth and Women’s Fund.
Though there exists a Youth Fund and a Women Fund, the new government structure has to particular ministry dealing with this issue.
The Jubilee government’s 100-day pledge is drawn from the coalition’s seven-point manifesto launched last month where Uhuru said his government will focus on national cohesion and unity, economic transformation and transparency and accountability..
The main pillars of the coalition manifesto packaged as a long term strategic plan for transforming Kenya are, Umoja (National Cohesion and Unity); Uchumi (Economic transformation) and Uwazi (Transparency and accountability).
The Jubilee team states issues of food and water, health care, education, women’s empowerment and wealth creation as its priorities and promises that they “will no longer be any other business (AOB) items on their government’s agenda.”
Other Cabinet Secretaries will also have their work cut out for them.
Economist Anne Waiguru will take up the responsibility for devolution and planning if she is approved as Cabinet Secretary.
Waiguru, who Uhuru gave the responsibility of driving the Economic Stimulus Package Programme when he was Finance minister may have the experience on devolving funds but she will have to first tackle emerging administrative issues.
Already there are challenges facing the devolved governments with the power tussle between the Governors and County Commissioners who are the National Government’s representatives at the counties.