By Lam Ondieki
During the unveiling of the cabinet secretaries the President Uhuru re-introduced the position of ‘assistant minister’ baptized in a new name ‘chief administrative secretary(CAS)’ to accommodate his political friends.
In his speech, the president said that “I have decided to establish a new position in government, the position of chief administrative secretary in all our ministers,”
Those appointed to this new position are all politicians who lost during the august 8 General election who spearheaded Jubilee campaigns in there respective regions but still Jubilee lost in those areas.
The notable appointees to this position include Ababu Namwamba who lost his Budalangi seat to ODM’s Raphael Wanjala, he delivered nothing to Jubilee from his home county of Busia. Hon Chris Obure led Jubilee campaigns in Kisii region, Gideon Mung’aro led the Kilifi and Coast campaigns. Others are Hon Ken Obura, Rachel Shebesh, Hussein Dadoo, Hon Bahari.
The role of CAS
Chief Administrative Secretary is an office messenger between the Cabinet Secretary & the Principal Secretary .. CS is the Minister with Executive Power & PS is the Accounting Officer … CAS, a stranger in the Constitution is a sexy name for Public Servant With No Portfolio.
— Donald B Kipkorir (@DonaldBKipkorir) January 26, 2018
The role of chief administrative secretaries was perfectly captured by lawyer Donald Kipkorir; they as the helpers to the cabinet secretaries. This role can be liked to that of assistant minister that was scrapped in the 2010 constitution, therefore unconstitutional in the new dispensation.
In the president’s speech he noted that “the chief administrative secretary would broadly be responsible for helping the cabinet secretary to better coordinate the running of the affairs of their respective ministers”
Throwing CAS under the bus
Well, it is expected that constitutional activists will go to court to challenge the legality of the position bearing in mind there role as it duplicates the scrapped assistant minister positions; seeking High Court interpretation will be important and perfectly in order as the intent of the drafters of the 2010 constitution was clear- to reduce unnecessary burden on tax payers, the ballooning wage bill will be a leading justification for seeking High Court to declare the move unconstitutional.
Pundits have it that Uhuru will most likely not mount a strong legal defense and therefore making it easy for the activist to triumph and sending the politicians packing. It should be noted that Uhuru is not seeking re-election but building his legacy and therefore he doesn’t need CAS besides public wage bill will be part of his legacy considering the level of public debt.
I submit that Uhuru will sweep the CAS appointees under the carpet, wont be surprising the suit may actually be backed by statehouse operatives. And the lose in this political chess will be DP Ruto.
The moment the AG will lose the case the CAS will have no choice but just pack and go home, Uhuru will have by then bagged his bonga points that he rewarded them and will have an excuse that the courts sacked them and therefore will not be blamed.