I watched in amusement early this month when an excited President Kibaki refused to hand over the UNPSA award to his Aide de Camp prior to addressing members of his cabinet at State House. It was a sight to behold because this was a special ceremony that required the attendance of all ministers, their assistant ministers, permanent secretaries and other senior government officials.
The United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) is one of the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service.
The award was as a result of GoKs introduction of performance contracts to all members of the public service. The awarded itself is solicited by way of submitting nominations online to the UNPSA.
In the excitement of receiving its first (and so far only) international award, the GoK could be excused for turning this into an official public ceremony. While chauffeur-driven members of cabinet and permanent secretaries were busy uncorking expensive champagne bottles at the State House ball room on tax-payers account, low cadre civil / public servants who earned this award continue to survive on sacco loans, pyramid schemes (sic), merciless shylocks and merry-go-round initiatives.
Never mind that this was a solicited award....
Never mind that the actual recipients of this award are those clerks you see at Nyayo/Harambee House and other government / public service institutions nationwide.
Against the backdrop of receiving this award, the Kibaki regime conveniently forgot that the Kenya Cabinet itself remains a blatant display of tribalism and cronyism. It is a classic example of how political survival overrides critical considerations like, for instance, to ensuring that appointments to the cabinet give due respect cultural and ethnic diversity of the country Kenya. The President has unfortunately taken full advantage of constitutional failings to appoint ministers based on his own personal whims.
Even as Assistant Ministers raise serious questions about their individual roles in cabinet, the cabinet itself remains the largest since independence with a record 34 full ministers and 50 assistant ministers thus creating a large bloated Cabinet of 84 members. This number could be more only that some slots are not filled as they serve a perfect carrot and stick in parliamentary business!.
Never mind that Kibaki's own pre-election pledge was to create a cabinet of not more than 20 persons!!
Never mind that a significant members of this cabinet were elected on a KANU ticket, supposedly the official opposition party in parliament!
Never mind that an even larger number of members of this cabinet were elected on a FORD-P ticket, which was effectively a competitor of NARC in 2002 general elections!
Never mind that the terminology 'Government of National Unity' is completely alien to our constitution!
More importantly however is that the country is yet to come to terms with the cost implications of appointing (idle) assistant ministers, their permanent secretaries, personal assistants, office support staff, security staff at all their residences, pool of motor vehicles, renting of office space, etc, etc. I wonder if those fellows at UNPSA ever bothered to check out these excesses. On top of their Sh887,500 pay as MPs, assistant ministers earn Sh100,000 responsibility allowance while Cabinet ministers pocket Sh200,000 each. They also enjoy other perks making the Government spent more than Sh600 million on their allowances each financial year - I was told enough to build 300 fully-equipped classrooms at a cost of Sh200,000 each. You do the math and tell us the sum of what idle assistant ministers ALONE are costing the Kenya economy annually. We shall add the cost implications of PS's PA's, support staff, motor vehicle pool of at least 6 cars and personal & residential security when we get over the massive shock of how much it will cost in total when Kibaki completes his 5 year term. It is surely horrific!
Never mind that nearly 4 million Kenyan citizens in Eastern, North Eastern and parts of Rift Valley provinces are 100% dependent on WFP food aid.
Never mind that fishermen along banks of Lake Victoria are being fleeced by middlemen for ignorance and lack of cold-storage facilities.
Never mind that thousands of Kenya citizens (young and old) do not have a place their call home and many of them are referred to as 'chokoras'. They are homeless, highly vulnarable and they spend most times scavenging for their daily bread from the garbage. And they ARE Kenya citizens, who are served by more than 80 members of cabinet!
Although we cannot fault the present day Kalembes, Nyachaes, Karumes, Michukis, I certainly miss the diplomatic, political and business acumen of the latter-day Mboyas, Oukos and Godanas.
We can only say congratulations for winning the UNPSA award. But we also ask; IS THIS THE LEGACY KIBAKI WANTS TO LEAVE IN KENYA?
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Are you a Kenyan? Do You love your country? Join in this noble campaign to change things. Do something instead of just complaining.