When president Uhuru Kenyatta named the first two cabinet secretaries i.e Amina Mohammed, a highly experienced diplomat on foreign affairs matters and Dr. Fred Matiangi to head the ICT ministry the response was overwhelmingly positive. Time would elapse until the president brings the cabinet tally to sixteen and some names would trigger different reactions.
The appointments were all attractive, simply because they were drawn outside the political class, but the mention of two euphoric politicians: Najib Balala and Charity Ngilu would elicit very sharp reactions. The two Jubilee loyalists were appointed to head the Mining and Land ministry respectively which are core in Uhuru’ government . I personally doubt Najib Balala’s managerial talent in providing sound skills for the petrodollars fetching ministry. He’s a dwarf. Uhuru and Ruto have a pertinent land attachment and awarding a partisan Ngilu to head the Land Ministry would compromise delivery of services. To underscore Ngilu’s performance, I would date back to her days as the Water Minister where she got alleged of being nepotistic. Her academic qualification is a thing I would doubt. To sum it up, Ngilu is a conservative. She has publicly shown a lot of disrespect for the former Vice-president Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka.
Many Kenyans opine that the president and his deputy duped Kenyans when a day ago prior to the appointments, the deputy president had made an assurance that the Cabinet would consist of only two politicians. “The cabinet will have only two politicians, me and his Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta,” a confident William Ruto accentuated during a press conference. I would authoritatively say that the initial enthusiasm has dissipated.
Kenyans were looking forward to having a lean cabinet that would compromise of technocrats and eschew career politicians. Charity Ngilu and Najib Balala, senatorial poll losers make the list dull. Though they were soundly beaten, they helped bring Kenyatta some votes where he was the weakest.
While the president scored so high in attempting to have the third gender rule respected, and would mostly rate his appointments as average. The president did however score so poorly in ethnic diversity and regional balance. My take remains clear that the president was in full contravention of Article 130 (2) “The composition of the national executive shall reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya.” There was much rant because the president did overlook the minority tribes in Kenya. The president missed the chance heal a disgruntled country, as outlined in Article 131 (1) (e) “The president is a symbol of national unity….” He failed to show a salient feature of national cohesiveness especially where he picked a chunk of the appointees from his populous Kikuyu tribe. His deputy exacerbated the scenario by having most of the appointees from his native Kalenjin Nation. As a nation that respects the law, we should be allowed to vent our feelings. The president seemed not to act like a nationalist.
During his campaigns, president Kenyatta promised prime posts to the youth but my utter bewilderment none of his cabinet secretary appointees has a constitutional definition of a being a youth. The youth formed part of his energized campaigns whose role cannot be ignored. I would needlessly opine that the youth have always been used by politicians to achieve on their object and thereafter get unknown not until when a mission beckons and their recall remain imminent.
The president and his deputy also made a gross error by not appointing a person with a disability. The president should adhere to the constitutional thresholds. Discriminating against persons with disabilities is against the law. It’s a matter of inclusivity and not exclusivity.