Cabinet Secretaries failing Kenyans

Friday, April 5th, 2024 04:45 | By
The scene of an accident where Easy Coach bus which was ferrying students from Chavakali Boys High School to Nairobi was involved in an accident near the Coptic Church roundabout on the Kakamega-Kisumu highway in Kisumu county.
The scene of an accident where Easy Coach bus which was ferrying students from Chavakali Boys High School to Nairobi was involved in an accident near the Coptic Church roundabout on the Kakamega-Kisumu highway in Kisumu county. PHOTO/Print

All eyes are now on President William Ruto on whether he would crack the whip on Cabinet Secretaries whose dockets have been bedevilled by crises leading to unprecedented pressure from the public for their sacking.

With the doctors’ strike nearing its third week, questions are being raised why President Ruto has maintained an uncharacteristic studious silence over the industrial action that has paralysed services in public health institutions across the country.

Despite dispatching his Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei to meet the medics and the parent ministry a few days ago that was expected to thaw the tensions between them, Ruto has continued to sit on his arms as Kenyans continue to feel the effects of the strike.

Cabinet Secretaries Susan Nakhumicha (Health), Mithika Linturi (Agriculture), Kipchumba Murkomen (Transport), Ezekiel Machogu (Education), Davies Chirchir (Energy) and Prof Kithure Kindiki have been fingered for failing the public through their perceived incompetence.

Nakhumicha is accused of high-handedness, arrogance and mishandling of the doctors strike while Mithika and Murkomen are on the spot over the fake fertiliser sale and rising road accidents in the country.

Kindiki, though ranked as the best performing ministers  by various pollsters, has been on the receiving end over the unrelenting bandit attacks in the North Rift region while Machogu is faulted for late disbursement of funds to schools and the entire confusion engulfing the education sector.

Capitation funds

Chirchir sits uncomfortable in his office over frequent power outages as well as the high cost of power and fuel. There is a feeling that he hides behind jargon to hoodwink the public on the skyrocketing costs of energy.

As a result, there have been calls from various stakeholders and members of the public for the President to sack Nakhumicha, Linturi and Kindiki over their alleged failures.

Political analyst Mark Bichachi says all the calls for the CSs’ sacking or resignation have to do with the high cost of living.

“All the calls boil down to the high cost of living, which if addressed, you will see tranquility. It is a no confidence vote being directed at the President as the CEO and at whose door steps, the buck stops,” says Bichachi. Another analyst Javan Bigambo says some of the questions being raised relate to unfulfilled pledges made during the campaigns.

“The question is what parameters do these people use to determine that a CS has failed to deliver and not his Principal Secretary. There is a lot of politics at play, but the final responsibility remains with the president to decide who has failed,” Bigambo said.

The latest such pressure was from the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) who wanted Nakhumicha relieved of her duties for failing to avert the ongoing human resource crisis in the health sector. The council accused Nakhumicha of laxity in managing the strikes by doctors, clinical officers and medical laboratory officers’ unions, which have left thousands of Kenyans unable to access treatment.

Fake fertiliser

NCCK Nairobi region chairman Dr Alphonse Kanga says that the wanton suffering endured by patients in public hospitals should be enough reason for the CS to vacate office.

“It is not the people of my calibre who are suffering, a bishop can afford to go to Aga Khan Hospital but the grandmother yule yuko mashinani (in the village) cannot afford so we want to see the president talk about it, solve this problem and let people live well in this nation,” Dr Kanga said on behalf of the NCCK, the umbrella body of pentecostal, evangelical and indigenous Christian churches.

The men of cloth also raised concern over Linturi for failing to reign in those involved in the suspected fake fertiliser fiasco.

Kanga accused the CS of shielding individuals who are out to swindle unsuspecting farmers through the government fertilizer subsidy programme.

“Mbolea ilitoka ilipeanwa with the systems that exist they have accountability, they know the storekeepers and they have the lorries that transported… the Ministry of Agriculture should not come to tell us ilikuwa ikatembea he should come and tell us this happened and either so and so has been sacked or he himself has stepped down,” said the Reverend.

With the rising statistics of road carnage, the NCCK officials accuse Murkomen of sleeping on the job and rising up to issue knee-jerk decrees after the loss of lives.

By the end of last month, more than 1,000 people had died in road accidents, way higher than the trends witnessed in previous years.

“The rate of accidents in Kenya can be measured with the rate of corruption in this country. We must have consolidated efforts with the police and NTSA and everybody else who is concerned because for those vehicles to do what they are doing right now it only means that things have gone out of hand,’ Kanga noted.

The medics union secretary general, Dr Dennis Miskellah, says Nakhumicha has single-handedly mismanaged the current crisis, saying that she simply just had to post interns.

“It has been very embarrassing listening to the Cabinet Secretary because of the crisis we find ourselves in,” Miskellah told People Daily yesterday.

“The internship issue was so simple, that she just had to post the interns. I have been informed by people from Afya House that what they did not do was defend the budget for internship and training. So when the Treasury went back and saw that they had not defended the issue, they said this was a non-priority area and money was taken away,” Dr Miskellah added.

Violation of law

Already, Embakasi East MP Babu Owino has written to the National Assembly Speaker over his intention to move an impeachment motion against Nakhumicha.

Babu claims the motion, which has already received the support of 111 MPs, is based on two grounds: gross violation of the constitution and incompetence.

In the North Rift, farmers claim they are counting huge losses after buying the substandard fertilizer and say they have been forced to plant their crops to make the best out of the ongoing rains.

Joining the fray, Bumula MP Jack Wamboka said the issue of fake fertiliser is grave and should be addressed by MPs across the political divide.

“President Ruto should have dismissed the CS by now. Everything about Linturi seems to be accompanied by a scandal and this one of fake fertilizer should not be left to pass,” Wamboka said.

While the Opposition has called for the sacking of Nakhumicha and Linturi, they also sucked in their Trade counterpart Rebecca Miano over the fake fertiliser seized by Kebs recently. “Failure to resign by these top government officials, the appointing authority must swing into action and sack them forthwith,” National Assembly Leader of Minority Opiyo Wandayi says.

Delayed funds

On the other hand, Machogu has received a flak from Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition members and stakeholders in the education sector over near collapse of sector because of delayed funding by the national government.

 “We are here to call out the government on the lies that have now crippled schools and exposed otherwise innocent principals and teachers to the wrath of parents and learners who buy into government lies that funds have been released to schools. The casualty is the Kenyan learner,” Wandayi said last week.

The Ugunja MP linked the massive failures in national exams to continued delays in releasing funds, saying the government owes schools Sh52.8 billion.

“The Ministry of Education is setting up school heads for ridicule, failure and blame, in the process, our children are collateral, and whenever the ministry comes under pressure, they assemble the media, come up with some figure and say they will release the money, which never happens,” he stated.

 “The present state of affairs in our schools is a great shame to this nation. The net effect of all these happenings is that we will have incalculable ramifications on standards of education in Kenya and the future of Kenyan children,” he said.

More on News