The top leadership of President William Ruto’s government is almost fully in place after his 51 principal secretaries (PSs) assumed office yesterday.
With 22 cabinet secretaries already in office, the administration of most key components of government is now in the hands of people chosen by the president and his deputy.
The morning swearing-in also marked the end of an era for former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s PSs, who have had to stay longer due to a court case that challenged the appointments of the 51 on grounds of regional and gender imbalance.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had sought to quash the list and order the Public Service Commission to repeat the selection.
In court, LSK claimed that in the disputed list, “13 nominees are from members of the Kalenjin community while 13 others are from Central Kenya region, to the detriment of the other 40 tribes and communities, contrary to pluralism of the country and depicts regional imbalance”.
But the court said the suit was premature and asked the petitioners to wait for Parliament to complete the vetting. The nominees were gazetted barely a day after MPs adopted a report recommending their appointments.
Dr Ruto yesterday told the newly appointed PSs to work diligently and to the best of their ability to the public.
“The jobs and the responsibilities you have been given are not private positions. Neither are they family positions or community positions. They are positions to serve the entirety of the people of the Republic of Kenya,” President Ruto said.
“I want to promise you that as your team leader, I will work with each and every one of you so that together we can commit and deliver to the people,” he told the PSs at State House.
President Ruto retained six PSs who worked in his predecessor’s administration.
The PSs who have made a comeback include Dr Belio Kipsang, who was sworn in to take charge of the State Department of Basic Education. He had served in the same ministry before he was moved during a shuffle.
Similarly, Dr Chris Kiptoo has been moved to National Treasury from Environment and Forestry where he served during Mr Kenyatta’s tenure.
Mr Harry Kimutai has been retained in the Livestock Development docket, just as Mr Charles Hinga in Housing and Urban Development.
Also retained are Mr Julius Korir who has been named to the newly created State Department of Cabinet Affairs while former Kenya Medical Training College boss Peter Tum has been named PS for Medical Services.
Some of the PSs sworn in yesterday include Teresia Mbaika Malokwe (Devolution), Esther Ngero (Performance and Delivery Management), Aurelia Rono (Parliamentary Affairs), Raymond Omollo (Interior and National Administration), Mary Muthoni Muriuki (Correctional Services), Julius Bitok (Citizen Services), and Dr Chris Kiptoo (The National Treasury).