News 2008


Muthaura jumped the gun

Business Daily


March 12, 2008: Francis Muthaura, the head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, must have jumped the gun when he spoke on Monday. When Parliament starts to look at the powers and functions bestowed on various offices under the proposed coalition government, his office is unlikely to be spared.

Leaving the office untouched poses the threat of duplication of duty. If the work of the Prime Minister is to oversee the implementation of Cabinet decisions and supervision of ministries, then the role of the head of public service needs to be re-defined or scrapped.

Mr Muthaura’s clarification adds to existing political confusion since Parliament, which has the final authority to interpret and legalise the political deal , has yet to do so. The much Mr Muthaura should have said was that Kenya would retain an independent and non-partisan public service.

The so-called sharing of public service jobs does not augur well. We should not make the public panic by alluding that workers will be hired and fired on the basis of ethnic community and perceived political affiliation.

For by doing so that will be the end of an independent public service.

The last time we had something similar to a Premiership was in 1986 when Simeon Nyachae held the powerful chief secretary position after taking over from Jeremiah Kiereini. By the time it was scrapped the office holder had so much sway that members of parliament likened it to Prime Minister.

There has been loose talk, media speculation and jostling for possible positions. That should not have happened.