New Kenyan cabinet line-up nears completion | Africa | DW | 26.04.2013
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Africa

New Kenyan cabinet line-up nears completion

Kenyans eagerly awaiting the announcement of the remaining cabinet minister nominees were surprised by some of the names made public on Thursday by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

12 more potential cabinet ministers were unveiled on Thursday morning in line with President Kenyatta's promise after he failed to reveal the list on Wednesday evening. That takes the number of nominees to 16 out of a total of 18 in the new slimmed-down cabinet.

Among those named are two former members of parliament, Najib Balala and Charity Ngilu. They are earmarked for the mining and housing ministries respectively.

The two had been part of the Jubilee Coalition campaign team, led by Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.

Their nominations as cabinet members have sparked discussion, as this goes against what was promised earlier.

Überschrift: Vote counting in Kenyan elections (PIC 2.JPG) Schlagworte: Kenyan elections 2013, Wer hat das Bild gemacht: James Shimanyula Wann und wo wurde es aufgenommen: Nairobi, Kenya, 06.03.2013 Was ist darauf zu sehen : Top officials of Kenya's Jubilee Coalition, led by Uhuru Kenyatta addressing a Press Confrere in Nairobi. from Left Charity Ngilu, Amina Abdallah, and Mutava Musyimi. James Shimanulya ist DW Korrespondent.

Many Kenyans are surprised by the nomination of Charity Ngilu (left)

Addressing the public on Wednesday evening, Deputy President William Ruto said the list of nominees would not include any politicians but would be made up only of technocrats.

“Kenyans said that they do not want a cabinet made up of politicians and that is what we are working on. Our cabinet will be a cabinet of professionals who will steer the development agenda of this country,” Ruto said.

In an interview with DW, Bobby Mkangi, a Nairobi-based constitutional expert, said the inclusion of Balala and Ngilu indicates an attempt to have some level of political continuity.

"Most Kenyans had been expecting the cabinet would have no representation of anyone who has been in active and competitive politics," he said.

First female defense minister

Another new nominee is Rachael Omamo who will be the minister of defense, if confirmed by parliament. Omamo, who is a lawyer and diplomat, would be Kenya's first female defense minister.

The first batch of four ministerial nominees, for the portfolios of information, health, foreign affairs and finance, was announced at State House on Tuesday evening.

The names included a long-serving economist at the ministry of finance, Henry Rotich. Rotich, who was educated at Harvard Universitsy, worked alongside President Kenyatta while he was finance minister.

There are hopes that Rotich will be the one to implement the double digit growth that Kenyatta promised Kenyans in his first speech to parliament as president.

"He has been involved in formulating macro-economic policies to ensure an affordable public spending aimed at achieving the government's development priorities," Kenyatta said.

Almost gender balanced?

According to DW correspondent James Shimanyula, Kenyatta's nominations have been received by Kenyans with mixed reactions. There has been widespread praise for the nomination of Amina Mohammed, who is of Somali origin, as foreign affairs minister.

Amina mohammed, nominated for the post of foreign affairs minister (Photo:FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

UN executive Amina Mohammed has been nominated as foreign affairs minister

Mohamed, who started her career at the Kenyan foreign affairs ministry, then the justice ministry before moving to the United Nations, was in the running to replace Pascal Lamy as director general of the World Trade Organization, but was eliminated from the race earlier this month.

Fatuma Adan Dilloh, a senator from the north eastern county of Isiolo near the Kenyan border with Somalia, expressed her happiness at the nomination.

"I am really happy, we've been left out for very many years especially the marginalized communities and the pastoralist communities. Right now I am so happy that one of us is at the top cream."

Anger among medics

While women have been celebrating Mohamed's nominations, President Kenyatta's nomination of accountant and business administrator James Wainaina Macharia as health minister has raised questions as to how technocratic his cabinet will be.

There are reports that the Kenya Medical Association is disappointed by the nomination, saying Kenyatta's government is ignoring heath professionals.

KMA chairman Elly Nyaim said in a statement: "For a long time, we have been taken for granted and successive governments have been allowing people with no background in the medical profession to run a sector that is central to the country's development agenda.”

He added that the association has no problem with the nominee's professional qualities but "it is important to note that he has absolutely no work experience in the health sector.”

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