CABINET secretaries have been directed by the Office of the Presidency not to appoint chairmen or general managers of state parastatals before getting clearance from the Director of Political Affairs. The office of Director of Political Affairs is currently managed by former Cherangany Mp Joshua Kuttuny and long-time State House political adviser Nancy Gitau.
The task force chaired by former Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohamed constituted to review the viability of state parastatals is expected to hand over its report to President Uhuru Kenyatta in the near future.
The force was looking at policies and laws governing state corporations. Its report was finalised two weeks ago and the Star has reliably been informed that it has recommended that the number of parastatals be reduced by half.
It has recommended all state corporations with similar functions to be merged in the same way that ministries were merged when the new government started in May.
The number of ministries was collapsed from 44 to 18, although the new constitution allows for up to 21 ministies. There are over 300 state corporations, far more than neighbouring Uganda which has less than 20.
Kuttuny and Githau are under instructions to ensure that any new appointment of chairmen and chief executives should be regionally balanced but also professionals who can manage the state companies with prudence.
According to a State House source, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto gave the directive to ensure that Cabinet secretaries toe the governbment line.
"Previously ministers had the sole mandate of appointing whoever they wanted, be it politically connected friends or relatives. The president and his deputy have moved to end that. What will happen is that Cabinet secretaries will float names of qualified individuals to the political office who will then make recommendations," said the source.
Currently there are over 10 positions in parastatals that are vacant after office holders ended their contracts, were promoted to Cabinet or were forced out due to alleged misconduct.
Last week, National Training Authority Chairman Thomas Akuja was summoned to Harambee House to brief the Office of the President on the progress made in recruiting the NTA director general.
Kuttuny told the Star that the directive is aimed at ending the tradition that state corporations being used to accommodate politically connected individuals. Kuttuny clarified that parastatal bosses appointed by the last government will not be sacked but will be asked to meet certain criteria to be prescribed by the government.
"What the government is doing is to reorganize the boards and management of state corporations not only to have a team of individuals that can help Jubilee achieve its promises but also live to the true reflections of generational change," he said.
"The President and his deputy are keen to ensure that they employ young people to lead the government and some of its other branches by ensuring they have fresh blood in the system," he said.
Cord recently claimed that recent changes at key state corporations were engineered to facilitate a pre-election power sharing agreement between Uhuru's TNA party and Ruto's URP party to share top jobs on a 50-50 basis.