A Cabinet Secretary (CS) is a senior civil servant who provides services and advice to the Cabinet which is made up of the President, Deputy President, Attorney General, and other Cabinet Secretaries. 

The CS’s are required to act in accordance with the Constitution and provide Parliament with full and regular reports. These reports concern matters under their control. The number of CS’s are a minimum of 10 and upto a maximum of 22.

Appointment and tenure of Cabinet Secretaries.

As per the Constitution of Kenya Article 152 the President shall nominate and, with the approval of the National Assembly appoint Cabinet Secretaries. A Cabinet Secretary shall not be a Member of Parliament.

Each person appointed as a Cabinet Secretary assumes office by swearing or affirming faithfulness to the people and the Republic of Kenya and obedience to the Constitution, before the President and in accordance with the Third Schedule of the Constitution of Kenya.

A Cabinet secretary may resign by delivering a written statement of resignation to the President, the Constitution provides.

Qualifications of Cabinet Secretaries.

Must be nominated by the President, with the approval of the National Assembly in compliance with 2/3 gender rule. According to Professor Yash Pal Ghai, a candidate for Cabinet secretary is better of possessing the qualifications as below:

  • A Cabinet Secretary must not be a Member of the Kenyan Parliament and has to be vetted by a parliamentary committee before their appointment.
  • The candidate must have academic credentials and professional training in the related field.
  • Must have experience in government or the private sector that is seen as relevant for their post.
  • Must have demonstrated trust and loyalty to Presidents and prime ministers to be appointed into the position.
  • Cabinets must be able to represent the country and its citizens together with their interest.
  • Compliance with diversity requirements including the third gender rule.

Unspoken criteria are more likely to relate to political acceptability, including compliance with diversity requirements. Best practices would require Parliamentarians to concentrate on integrity issues and the public supplies useful evidence about the candidate’s integrity.

Unfortunately, history has shown that as and when MPs reject any candidate, it will be more because of some political objection rather than a matter of principle.

Role of Cabinet Secretaries

As per article 152 of the Constitution of Kenya which details decisions, responsibility and accountability of the Cabinet.

  • All decisions of the Cabinet shall be in writing. Cabinet Secretaries are accountable individually, and collectively, to the President for the exercise of their powers and the performance of their functions.
  • A Cabinet Secretary shall attend before a committee of the National Assembly, or the Senate, when required by the committee,
  • Answer any question concerning a matter for which the Cabinet Secretary is responsible.

As per Article 153 (4) of the Constitution of Kenya Cabinet Secretaries are required to-

(a) Act in accordance with the Constitution;

(b) Provide Parliament with full and regular reports concerning matters under their control.

The President should bear in mind that while he is free to choose any person as CS: competence should be borne in mind as well as chapter six of the Constitution of Kenya requirements.

Lawquery Team.

www.kenyalaw.com       https://www.klrc.go.ke/

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