Thursday, 25 April 2013

Why Cabinet line-up was delayed

PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI Journalists wait for an announcement on the Cabinet at State House Nairobi on April 24, 2013.
PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI Journalists wait for an announcement on the Cabinet at State House Nairobi on April 24, 2013.  NATION MEDIA GROUP
Posted  Thursday, April 25  2013 at  23:30

The decision to include two politicians in the first Jubilee Cabinet was one of the reasons that delayed the announcement of the nominees on Wednesday.
Interviews with allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto revealed that apart from the fight to appoint politicians Charity Ngilu and Najib Balala to the Cabinet, the huge number of professionals who were lined up for interviews pushed the two leaders to postpone the announcement of the names.
Sources also said President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were yet to agree on the individuals to hold the dockets of Interior and Coordination of National Government and that of Labour, Social Security and Services in the face of the need to meet regional balance. The slots are still vacant.
On Thursday, the inclusion of Mrs Ngilu, the former Water minister, and Mr Balala, the former Mvita MP, in the list of Cabinet Secretaries, caught Kenyans by surprise since Mr Ruto had declared on Wednesday that the President and himself would be the only politicians in the Cabinet.
Mr Ruto was referring to the position of his party — the United Democratic Party — that no politician should be appointed to the Cabinet. He wanted Mrs Ngilu and Mr Balala to be given other jobs outside Cabinet.
But sources said that President Kenyatta, on the advice of his handlers, wanted the two included in his Cabinet on grounds that they stood by his State House bid.
Still, those close to the President argued that the Jubilee manifesto, which played a key role in the victory over the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (Cord) on March 4 was owned by the four leaders. It would be politically wrong, they argued, to deny the two a stake in the coalition.
Explained President Kenyatta yesterday: “We have agreed with our colleagues who were with us in Jubilee (Balala and Ngilu) that as they serve in our government they will leave their political roles. They will not be politicians. It is only me and my deputy who will play political roles.”
Further, the President’s advisers were of the opinion that the Cabinet designates list, which drew a lot of individuals from the private sector, required political mentoring from leaders with experience.
On the vacant dockets, sources said President Kenyatta was negotiating with Mr Ruto to name a politician from western region to the docket of Labour, Social Security and Services, which belongs to URP.
The Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government will be held by TNA.
However, Mr Ruto was hesitant to let go of the slot.
Sources also said that President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto had a long list of individuals to interview before coming up with the line-up.
By 7pm on Wednesday, they had interviewed just half of those who had shown willingness to quit their lucrative jobs to serve in the Jubilee government.
They did the interviews until midnight and proceeded to vet more names on Thursday.

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