Meritocracy should guide Cabinet picks
National attention is on President William Ruto as he prepares to constitute the Cabinet that will help him implement his ambitious agenda.
There is also a flurry of activities in counties on recruitment of senior officials. It is at such a critical point, that the sore of malfeasance rears its ugly head. Public interest takes backstage for parochial political appetites.
It becomes a time to reward cronies, relatives and commercial interests. Kenyans are being treated to sordid stories by new governors who were seemingly shocked by bloated workforce, ghost workers and mind-boggling pending bills.
They attribute the mess to irresponsible decisions of their predecessors. In one shocking case, a charlatan was found on the payroll as a medic. There was last-minute attempt to give workers employment letters by public service boards. In some instances, the workforce consumes more than 60 per cent of the county budget. Such decisions stifle resources for development and delivery of essential services to the public. Regrettably, that is against the very spirit of devolution.
We are gratified that new governors have started addressing the rot. But then, we encourage them to heed the advisory by Ombudsman Florence Kajuju that they should conduct the clean-up in a manner that does not offend labour laws.
Wananchi should exercise eternal vigilance to ensure leaders do not turn it into a window dressing exercise in a cover-up to repeat the tendencies of their predecessors. The composition of the national Cabinet will be more delicate. We live in a nervous country in which every community seeks accommodation and voice at the national decision making table. The major motivation is the distribution of resources and jobs. Grievances around exclusion have been cited as cause of suspicions that have tested the bounds of our nationhood in the past. This is avoidable.
Ruto, and indeed the leadership of the sub-national, need to ensure national unity and stability. Their choices should be informed by meritocracy, diversity rather than reward for surrogates. Already, Ruto has indicated he will not appoint members of the Opposition to his Cabinet.
There is dignity in the argument that the country requires a strong and competent Opposition to oversight the new administration. The leaders must be guided by the preamble to our Constitution. It decrees that as a country, we are proud of our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, and determined to live in peace and unity as one indivisible sovereign nation.