|A new structure of the government that spells out the powers and responsibilities of the President and the Prime Minister has been prepared.
|President Kibaki, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (left), Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi(right) after the naming of Grand Coalition Cabinet at State House Nairobi last month. Photo/FILE
The circular, which also outlines the role of Cabinet ministers, shows President Kibaki retaining most of his executive authority, including overall responsibility for the Cabinet, but ceding some of his duties such as chairing Cabinet sub-committee’s to Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The Draft Government structure obtained by the Daily Nation but which has not yet been officially released, puts Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka in a somewhat awkward position by raising the possibility of the President’s principal assistant sitting at Cabinet committee meetings chaired by Mr Odinga.
But this can only happen when Mr Musyoka attends such meetings in his capacity as the Home Affairs minister.
The President’s powers and responsibilities, appearing under the banner of “The Presidency and Cabinet Affairs”, include State affairs and functions, executive authority of government, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Organisation of government business, Cabinet Affairs and Secretariat.
The President is also responsible for all security dockets, appointment of the VP, Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers, ministers and assistant ministers, together with the hiring of judges, ambassadors and high commissioners and is overall responsible to parliament for the performance of the whole government.
Mr Odinga, on the other hand, is responsible for coordination and supervision of the execution of the functions and affairs of the government, including those of ministers, chairing Cabinet committees, public service reforms and performance contracting, efficiency monitoring unit, inspection of State corporations, and any other duties assigned by the President.
He is also responsible for the ministries of State for Public Service and the ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, although the two have substantive ministers.
The move to spell the functions and powers of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers and ministers could be seen as a quiet decision by the Government to end the protocol row that emerged last week as the grand coalition government toured the Rift Valley province to hasten the resettlement of people displaced from their homes by the post-election violence.
It also seeks to end the growing sentiments by some ministers that President Kibaki and Mr Odinga share executive authority since they were signatories of the National Accord that brought into existence the grand coalition government.
The Presidential circular, signed by the Head of Public Service, Mr Francis Muthaura, dated April 25, 2008, places Vice-President Musyoka in the second position, ahead of the PM.
The circular that is labelled ‘draft’, further outlines the functions of seven new ministries in the 42-member Cabinet that were created to meet the expectations PNU and ODM leaders following the enactment of the National Accord.
From the onset, Presidential Circular No.1/2008 whose title is ‘Organisation of the Government of the Republic of Kenya’ states: “This circular is issued with the authority of His Excellency the President and it contains appointments and changes made in the Government since the previous circular was issued on 9th August, 2007.”
It then explains: “ The ministerial portfolio responsibilities remain an internal matter for each ministry to determine within the broad scope of the listed functions, and these responsibilities will be varied as circumstances and needs arise. This circular supersedes all previous Presidential Circulars on the above subject.”
It is copied to all ministers, assistant ministers, permanent secretaries, provincial commissioners, Attorney General, State House Comptroller, Controller and Auditor General, Public Service Commission Secretary, Clerk to the National Assembly, Registrar of the High Court, and Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman.
According to the circular, President Kibaki, who is the Head of State and Government, will preside over Cabinet affairs; State affairs and functions; appoint VP, PM, deputy PMs, ministers, assistant ministers; and chair all organs of security, among other responsibilities.
However, he is accountable to Parliament on the overall performance of his government, it states. It is significant to note that the docket of Cabinet Affairs was hotly contested during the consultations on the naming of the coalition cabinet between President Kibaki and Mr Odinga with the latter insisting that it should be under him. Surprisingly, when the Cabinet was named, it had been dropped from the new ministries that were created.
Under the Office of the President are the ministries of Internal Security, Defence, Special Programmes and State House.
The circular describes Mr Musyoka as the principal assistant to the President and Leader of Government Business in Parliament. Mr Musyoka also heads the ministry of Home Affairs that deals with prisons and remand homes, criminal rehabilitation, and approved schools, among others.
The ministry of National Heritage and Culture, and that of Immigration and Registration of Persons are under the VP’s Office.
The office of the PM, which is housed at the Treasury, is charged with the task of coordinating and supervising the execution of the affairs of the Government including ministries. Mr Odinga will also chair cabinet committees such as those on corruption, preside over Public Service Reforms and Performance Contracting and the dormant agency anti-corruption agency— the Efficiency Monitoring Unit.
The circular also places under Mr Odinga’s charge the Inspectorate of State Corporations and other duties that he will be assigned by the President in line with the National Accord.
The two deputy premiers, Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, have the responsibility of deputising Mr Odinga in the coordination of government affairs and will also perform any other functions that the PM will assign them.
The circular defines the functions of the new ministries of Nairobi Metropolitan Development that was hived from that of Local Government, Fisheries that was split from Livestock and Fisheries, Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, Industrialisation, Public Works, Forestry and Wildlife, and Medical Services.
Nairobi Metropolitan Development, headed by Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo, will be responsible for the development of the Nairobi Metropolis and growth of areas under it, and craft strategy that covers transport system, upgrading of slums, planning and zoning areas, efficient water supply and waste management, investment in infrastructure and making the metropolis globally competitive.
However, the National Urban and Metropolitan Areas Development Board remains under the docket of Local Government headed by Mr Mudavadi.