Kenya: public service not to get power sharing

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The recently- signed, power-sharing deal between the government and opposition does not affect senior positions in the civil service, the judiciary and state corporations, Kenya’s head of civil service and secretary to the cabinet, Mr. Francis Muthaura, said Monday.

In a statement that is likely to elicit sharp reaction from the opposition, Mr. Muthaura said that in terms of protocol, the yet-to-be created position of prime minister and two deputies would be junior to the vice president.

The statement put a damper on the widely-held view that opposition leader Raila Odinga would be head of government, while President Mwai Kibaki would be head of state.

He said, “In terms of protocol, the vice president, being the principal assistant to the president, ranks higher than the prime minister and therefore you do not expect him to answer to his junior.”

It was reported at the weekend that senior positions in the government would be reserved for opposition supporters as a way of bringing about national reconciliation following two months of inter-ethnic violence over disputed presidential poll.

“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 act of parliament,” he said.

He added that the clarification was necessary “to avoid politicisation of the civil service”.

Muthaura said holders of constitutional offices, permanent secretaries (who are the chief accounting officers in the ministries), ambassadors, judges of the high court, chairpersons of boards and a few chief executives will be appointed by the president.

He said he was responding to media reports that the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) was lining up supporters to be given plum jobs in the public service, diplomatic corps and state corporations.

The civil service boss said the composition of the cabinet would remain the prerogative of the president, although the opposition leader would recommend to the president names of opposition members of parliament for inclusion in the cabinet. Panapress.

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