Kenya politics: Quick View - President finally names a new cabinet

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Country Data and Maps
Economist Intelligence Unit
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Politics, News Analysis, Forecast, Political stability
Political Geography


The president, Uhuru Kenyatta, named his new cabinet on January 26th, after a lengthy delay, retaining seven cabinet secretaries (ministers), reshuffling five and bringing in nine new faces. All nominees now face vetting by parliament.


The long wait to name the cabinet-two months after Mr Kenyatta's inauguration for a second term, on November 28th, following a presidential election rerun-raised speculation about the possible appointment of some opposition figures, to bolster national unity, but the government, like its predecessor, remains dominated by the ruling Jubilee Party, apart from some technocratic picks. Several key ministers retain their portfolios, including Henry Rotich at the Treasury-which bodes well for economic policy continuity-James Macharia at transport and infrastructure, Joe Mucheru at information, communication and technology, Aden Mohamed at industrialisation, Najib Balala at tourism and Rachael Omamo at defence. In addition, Charles Keter stays at energy, but loses responsibility for petroleum to the Ministry of Mining, now headed by one of the cabinet newcomers, John Munyes.

Of the ministers reshuffled, Amina Mohamed loses the foreign affairs portfolio to a new arrival, Monica Juma, but switches to education, while the outgoing education minister, Fred Matiangi, formally moves to interior and security, after having assumed the role on an acting basis since the death of the former postholder, Joseph Nkaisserry, in July 2017. Mr Matiangi's confirmation as interior minister party reflects the effective but heavy-handed actions taken to clamp down on election-related disturbances, and his role in attempting to curb terrorist attacks by al-Shabab. In other changes, Sicily Kariuki moves to health from public service, Mwangi Kiunjuri switches to agriculture from devolution and Eugene Wamalwa heads to devolution from water.

Other newcomers include Peter Munya at East African Community, Ukur Yattani at labour, Keriaki Tobiko at environment, Farida Karoni at land and Margaret Kobia at public service. The appointment of nine new ministers also means that the same number were replaced. The additional appointment of Raphael Tuju, Jubilee's secretary-general, to the cabinet (without a portfolio) signals closer political oversight. Mr Kenyatta also created a new layer of bureaucracy in the form of chief administrative secretaries in all departments-in a bid to strengthen co-ordination-although it also risks fuelling turf wars.

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