Here are 51 Reasons Why Principal Secretaries Hold the Key To Kenya’s Success

I have always been a car enthu­si­ast since my child­hood. My father Bish­op Kalua had a short stint as a pio­neer­ing own­er of a matatu ply­ing the Nairo­bi West route. Back in the late sev­en­ties, he owned a Volk­swa­gen Kom­bi van that fer­ried peo­ple from Nairo­bi CBD to Nairo­bi West. This Kom­bi gave me an oppor­tu­ni­ty to acquaint myself with the mechan­i­cal work­ings of a car from an ear­ly age.

Recent­ly as I was dri­ving home, I reflect­ed on the many parts of a car that must effi­cient­ly work for the car to func­tion. Chief among them are the engine and gear­box. While an inter­nal-com­bus­tion engine con­verts ener­gy from the heat of burn­ing fuel into the force that turns wheels, a gear box trans­mits that force. In essence, a gear box enables the car to move. It pro­vides vary­ing amounts of ener­gy as per the need of the moment. It does the heavy lifting.

In the Exec­u­tive Arm of Gov­ern­ment, Cab­i­net Sec­re­taries are like engines of the Min­istries while Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­taries are like gear box­es. While Cab­i­net Sec­re­taries are the cen­ters of min­is­te­r­i­al pow­er, Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­taries trans­mit that pow­er into metic­u­lous tech­ni­cal action that deliv­ers results.

Last Fri­day, 51 Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­taries (PS) were sworn into office. They includ­ed 12 hon­or­able women. These indi­vid­u­als are now tasked with a con­sti­tu­tion­al respon­si­bil­i­ty that is spelt out in Sec­tion 155 of our Con­sti­tu­tion ‘Each State depart­ment shall be under the admin­is­tra­tion of a Prin­ci­pal Secretary.’

As State depart­men­tal lead­ers, Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­taries turn the wheels of a Min­istry for­ward. They hold Author­i­ty to Incur Expen­di­ture (AIE). That’s a hard nut to crack because man­ag­ing mon­ey is one of the hard­est tasks in any institution.

As the Ethics and Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion Chair­man famous­ly said in 2016, Kenya los­es one third of its bud­get to cor­rup­tion. Giv­en their crit­i­cal roles as AIE hold­ers, PSs can pro­vide the first lines of defense for State funds. If they do so, the State will increas­ing­ly get full val­ue for State resources and this will change Kenyans’ lives. There is need there­fore for the new PS’s to sup­port and become per­ma­nent friends to the Office of the Audi­tor Gen­er­al and oth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly estab­lished agen­cies includ­ing the Par­lia­ment because there they will con­sis­tent­ly access valu­able reports that will guide them away from grave mis­takes made by their predecessors.

It was remark­able to hear Pres­i­dent Ruto remind­ing the PS’s about the promi­nence of Kenya’s human cap­i­tal as he reas­sured them of his unwa­ver­ing sup­port. Clear­ly, their work opti­mizes ser­vice deliv­ery. It fol­lows that opti­mal ser­vice deliv­ery from State Offi­cers makes the lives of peo­ple better.

For instance, Eng. Joseph Mungai Mbugua, the new PS, State Depart­ment for Roads can ensure unprece­dent­ed con­struc­tion and main­te­nance of roads in Kenya tak­ing a cue from Pres­i­dent Kenyatta’s admin­is­tra­tion to trans­form the lives of Kenyans through ease of move­ment of peo­ple and goods. Eng. John Kipchum­ba Tanui the new PS for ICT and Dig­i­tal Econ­o­my on the oth­er hand has a tremen­dous oppor­tu­ni­ty of using his vast expe­ri­ence to fast-track dig­i­ti­za­tion of Gov­ern­ment ser­vices to ensure bet­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion between insti­tu­tions and con­ve­nient access to ser­vices. On his part the PS for sports and arts Jonathan Mwan­gan­gi Mueke can trans­form lives through tap­ping tal­ents even as he gets Kenya to the next World Cup. The most expe­ri­enced Dr. Richard Belio Kip­sang through his edu­ca­tion dock­et can stream­line our children’s edu­ca­tion and grant then hope for the future.

The same applies to all oth­er PS’s because every­thing stands and falls on their shoulders.

Indeed, the 51 Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­taries are not just tech­no­crat­ic State Offi­cers. They fix the nuts and bolts of the Gov­ern­ment. Just like the gear box, they should trans­mit the force that pow­ers the Gov­ern­ment engine so that Kenya can keep mov­ing towards suc­cess. Think green act green!

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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