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Some appointed Kenya ministers, huge salaries, but no duties to perform

Posted by African Press International on May 7, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.nation.ke

Revealed: Ministers who got a raw deal in Cabinet

Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE and KENNETH OGOSIA

<Minister Beth Mugo

Some dockets were mere departments before the November 2005 referendum. Photos/FILE

Details of how ministers in the grand coalition will share responsibility emerged this week in a secret document outlining the new government structure.

The draft prepared by the Head of Public Service, Mr Francis Muthaura, shows that some of the new ministries hived off to create the 42-member Cabinet are mere shells meant to satisfy political egos.These are ministries whose dockets suggest that they could be handled as departments within parent ministries.

The ministries on the spot include Public Health and Sanitation headed by Dagoretti MP Beth Mugo; Gender and Children Development of Nyeri Town lawmaker Esther Murugi Mathenge; Fisheries Development whose head is Funyula’s Paul Otuoma; Forestry and Wildlife that was placed in the hands of Kwanza member Noah Wekesa; Malava MP Soita Shitanda’s Ministry of Housing and that of Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands, headed by Moyale MP Ibrahim Mohamed Elmi. Although the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development, which is headed by Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo, would appear to have its work cut out, major amendments would have to be made to the Local Government Act for it to work effectively.

The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation has, for example, been overshadowed in terms of responsibility by the Medical Services ministry, headed by Prof Anyang Nyong`o.

Although Mrs Mugo moved to the office previously occupied by Mrs Charity Ngilu when the Kitui Central MP was Health minister, the Dagoretti MP does not have a parastatal under her ministry.

Her responsibilities are listed as public health and sanitation policy, preventive and promotive health services, health education, family planning, food quality and hygiene, health inspection and other public health services, quarantine administration and oversight over all sanitation services.

Prof Nyong`o, on the hand, has overall responsibility over all public hospitals, the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency, Curative Services, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, maternity services, the National Hospital Insurance Fund, the Government Chemist, and registration of doctors, nurses and pharmacists, among others.

When contacted, Mrs Mugo said: A committee has been set up to revise the draft on the function of my ministry.

According to her, HIV and Aids, malaria, tuberculosis and childhood immunisation programmes, which are carried out in dispensaries and health centres will be under her docket.

There appears to be anomalies in the way the dockets were outlined in the draft, she said.

However, Mr Kilonzo dismissed claims that his ministry had little work. According to him, he is faced with a daunting task of transforming the city into a metropolis. He has to find ways of fixing the city’s transport system, water supply, waste disposal, public utilities, slum upgrading and enforcement of zoning regulations.

I must make it clear that taking Nairobi to the status of a metropolis will require a lot of focus, he said.

According to him, the ministry covers all sectors and if that can be termed as a hollow ministry, then the meaning of the word needs a new definition.

However, a casual look at what the ministry is expected to do looks like high-sounding phrases that will require huge amounts of money to become reality. For example, the ministry is charged with upgrading all the city slums.

Most of the ministries in this category were created last month as President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga sought to balance the interests of their party MPs as part of a power-sharing agreement following the disputed presidential election results.

Referendum

Others were created after the November 2005 referendum to give the President a majority in Parliament after Mr Odinga’s Liberal Democratic Party pulled out of Narc.

The new ministries have limited duties and responsibilities and few parastatals, going by the draft Presidential Circular No1/2008 titled: Organisation of the Government of the Republic of Kenya.

The Ministry of Gender and Children’s Development was weakened after the sports docket was hived off and shifted to that of Youth and Sports.

Mrs Mathenge’s task in the ministry will be limited to developing policies and crafting strategies focusing on the plight of women and children. This will include policies on gender and children’s development, the Children’s Department, children’s homes, Kenya National Council for Social Services and community development, Social Services, Women Enterprise Development Fund, and Women’s Bureau. It has no parastatal under its fold.

The Ministry of Fisheries was hived off the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development and handed over to Dr Otuoma, the Funyula MP, who ended former Vice-President Moody Awori’s political career.

The ministry has the task of formulating the fisheries policy, issuing fishing licenses, developing marine and fresh water fisheries, value addition and export of fish, marketing and forming cooperatives for local fishermen. It only has one instituteand the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Institute under its docket. These tasks were previously bestowed on the Director of Fisheries, whose position still exists.

The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, headed by Dr Wekesa, has two departments that were hitherto under the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources and that of Tourism and Wildlife.

The ministry’s functions focus on forests and wildlife and they include developing policies for the two areas, re-afforestation and conservation of wildlife. Under its docket are the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Wildlife Clubs of Kenya.

Mr Shitanda’s Housing ministry, which was a department under the Ministry of Lands, Settlement and Housing before the 2005 referendum, is tasked with writing the housing policy, shelter and slum upgrading outside the Nairobi metropolis, development of low-cost rental housing, building and construction technologies, housing for civil servants, disciplined forces, government housing, leasing of public office space and the rent tribunal.

The National Housing Corporation and Housing Finance Company of Kenya Ltd fall under this ministry.

The Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands, formerly part of the docket of Regional Development Authorities, has the duty of ensuring all-round development of marginal areas.

Infrastructure

It will deal with infrastructure, livestock, water, irrigation, tapping solar and wind energy, mineral exploration, growth of townships and management of natural resources in the dry areas.

Most of these tasks have parent ministries, and Mr Elmi will be required to work closely with his colleagues to meet his targets.

However, Mr Muthaura’s circular gives some ministries powerful functions in terms portfolio responsibilities. The powerfulministries include that ofJustice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs,Medical Services, Environment and Mineral Resources, Basic Education, Energy, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Finance, Information and Communications, Industrialisation, and Transport.

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African Press International – api

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