Kenyans eyeing the Principal Secretaries’ jobs in the new administration will soon be allowed to apply after the Public Service Commission (PSC) declares vacancies.
The current cohort of Principal Secretaries — 44 in total — will exit office with President Uhuru Kenyatta once a new president is sworn into office. Principal Secretaries are accounting officers of various State departments under government ministries, and are charged with tracking usage of funds allocated to their dockets.
“We will be advertising and conducting interviews for these positions and recommend the most suitable candidates to the new administration for appointment,” said PSC chairman Anthony Muchiri said on Wednesday.
Article 155 of the Constitution mandates the President to nominate a person for appointment as PS from among persons recommended by the PSC. The names of the nominees are then forwarded to the National Assembly for approval for appointment to the position.
PSs are allocated an official car, a driver and a bodyguard, besides their pay, which is close to Sh1 million. The State also maintains their houses and a retinue of aides; including at least two secretaries and a personal assistant.
In January 2018, President Kenyatta dismissed 12 PSs when their contracts were not renewed to serve in his second term in office. At the time, Mr Kenyatta picked 31 PSs, which was 15 less than the 46 who served in his first term.
Currently, there are 21 ministries in government, each headed by a Cabinet Secretary. It is a common tradition for the president to put his most trusted persons in ministries that he considers crucial for his legacy.
Ministries such as Education, Agriculture, and Transport have four PSs owing to the number of departments within their mandate. For instance, the Ministry of Education has the State departments of Early Learning and Basic Education, University Education and Research, Vocational and Technical Training as well as Post Training and Skills Development.
Mr Muchiri said the PSC had developed an advisory brief on the transition to a new government administration which is part of its mandate as enshrined in the Constitution.
“This is intended to support a seamless transition by the outgoing Administration and reflects the centrality of the Commission on matters related to establishing Government Structures, appointments, and the Huma Resource function for both the incoming National and County administrations,” he said.
The nine advisories that the PSC has segregated the brief touch on the appointment of PSs, their appointment letters, the exit of the serving PSs, advisors and other auxiliary staff, as well as modalities for the transition of staff from the Nairobi Metropolitan Services upon the lapse of ‘Deed of Transfer’.
In 2020, former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko agreed to hand over health, transport, public works and planning functions to the national government under the Deed of Transfer
“In case the County government desires not to renew the contract, the PSC is giving an advisory on how the staff that were seconded to the NMS will be brought back to the County Government,” said Mr Muchiri.
Newly elected Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has stated that he will ensure all County functions are revered back to City Hall once he is sworn into office.
The NMS tenure was extended by three months after August 9 2022 in the deed of transfer, to allow for transition once a governor is elected.
The extension of tenure is intended to ensure continuous service delivery.