Muthaura defines roles in new
Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE
10. March 2008
The Government has moved to define the powers of the President,
Vice President and Prime Minister in the new coalition
The Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura made the announcements
The announcements came as a committee made up of PNU and ODM
members began its work of implementing contents of the National
Accord and Reconciliation agreement that ended two months of a
political crisis in the country.
The announcement of the coalition government structure preceded
the resumption of Parliament’s business Tuesday where it is
expected that MPs will move to shorten debate on the Presidential
speech to give priority to two key Bills that will create the
coalition government and the new posts of PM and two deputies.
Mr Muthaura said he had come out to spell the structure of the new
government and the powers of the President, VP and PM to clear the
doubts and different versions that had come up in the public
following the signing of the deal.
He also spoke of the concern on the fate of jobs held by people
appointed by the Government in line with the Constitution or
“There have been reports that have created concern on the roles of
the Prime Minister, Government appointments and the structure of
the Government following the national Accord and we have come here
to make clarifications,” he said.
The structure that he was outlining, he explained, was in line
with the National Accord and Reconciliation Agreement that has now
been transformed into a Bill to be debated in Parliament.
The announcement raffled feathers in ODM with Eldoret North MP
William Ruto describing it “as a weighty matter” which the party
will respond to in detail. “That is a weighty matter that cannot
be responded to in an off cuff comment. The party will issue a
statement in detail,” he said on the phone when contacted.
However Ndhiwa MP Orwa Ojodeh (ODM) declared that Mr Muthaura was
taking over the powers of Parliament by defining the roles of the
President, VP and the PM. Mr Ojodeh went ahead to accuse the Head
of Civil Service for going against the legal procedures and said
the pronouncements of Mr Muthaura during a press conference at the
Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) should be treated
with the “contempt they deserve’.
“The National Accord is due for debate in Parliament this week and
Muthaura has no powers to usurp the powers of Parliament.
Muthaura’s announcement is an act of negation and could trigger
executive manipulation to kill the spirit of the Accord,” he said.
“It is an abuse of the Parliamentary legal procedures and we
demand that Muthaura desists from making such statements,” he
Flanked by Government spokesman Alfred Mutua, Mr Muthaura said
that President Kibaki retained his slots as the Head of State and
Government under the deal that was mediated by former UN secretary
general Kofi Annan.
The President, he said, also retains the powers to appoint the VP,
the PM, deputy PMs and ministers subject to the terms that were
clearly stated in the peace deal. “The Vice President, Prime
Minister, deputy Prime Ministers and all ministers are directly
responsible to the President. The President will continue to chair
the Cabinet,” he said.
All permanent secretaries and chairpersons of state corporations,
he added, will be appointed by the President.
Mr Muthaura said that the VP, who in terms of protocol comes
second, is the principal assistant of the President and will
retain his position as the Leader of Government Business in
“The VP, in terms of protocol, ranks higher than the Prime
Minister. This is a Constitutional provision and you don’t expect
the Prime Minister to supervise the work of the Vice President,”
Describing the soon-to-be created PM post as key in the efficiency
of Government affairs, he said the premier will coordinate the
operations of Government and supervise the functions of ministries
under the authority of the President.
“The Prime Minister, who coordinate and supervise the Government
functions, is going to be extremely important in the efficient
running of the Government which is not an easy task,” he said.
The premier, who will have a ministry, will for instance take
charge of inter-ministerial committees, ensure cabinet decisions
on policies are implemented, form committees to evolve policy and
ensure that ministries remain focused on the task ahead of them.
“Government work revolves around the Cabinet. The PM will come in
handy in setting up inter-ministerial committees, following up on
policy, sometimes developing the policy and ensuring ministries
are kept in focus,” he explained.
In line with the Accord, he said that ODM leader, Mr Odinga will
make recommendations of the MPs he wants to take up ministerial
positions and leave the rest to the President.
“As regards the Cabinet, the ODM leader will make recommendations
and the President will decide,” he said.
Mr Muthaura explained that the essence of the structure rotated
around distribution of responsibilities in the broad government
He said the Accord did not touch on the civil service which he
said was based on the professionalism of office holders and not
the political dynamics that were taking place in the country.
He stated that public servants are meant to serve all Kenyans
equally in a non-partisan way and warned that any moves to divide
the workforce along party lines will spell doom to delivery of
“The Accord does not include sharing of jobs in the public service.
Therefore it should be clear that appointments in the public
service are governed by the Constitution or the Acts of Parliament,”
“We cannot divide the public service. It is not about politics. It
is about serving Kenyans equally regardless of their political
standing. That is why the civil service cannot be partisan,” he
That was why, said Mr Muthaura, all Constitutional office holders,
permanent secretaries, ambassadors, judges of the High Court board
chairpersons, and a few chief executives of parastatals will
continue being appointed by the President.
He added that other chief executives of parastatals and boards of
directors will be appointed by respective ministers.
“I wish to assure public servants that there is nothing to worry
about the safety of their jobs or politicization of the public
service. It is extremely important that while public servants
embrace the implementation of the Accord, professionalism should
be maintained and free from partisan politics,” he said.