PS appointments quite appalling

The list of permanent secretaries appointed on Monday was disappointing. It went against the public wish. After grudgingly accepting a bloated Cabinet with its confused roles and heavy expenditure, Kenyans expected that the top echelons of the Civil Service would be better constituted.

It was expected that the appointing authority would dispense with political considerations and name qualified, competent and youthful people to top civil service jobs.

But this was not to be. People who should have long retired and political hangers-on were named to key jobs as patronage took centre-stage.

When the parties constituting the Grand Coalition today were campaigning ahead of last December’s elections, they all pledged to create a vibrant, youthful, representative and quality public service. The appointments made nonsense of these pledges.

It is futile for the Government to talk of creating jobs when top posts are permanently given to people who should be at home playing with their grandchildren.

Not only does this create discontent among career civil servants forced to stagnate in lowly positions, it also creates apathy, resulting in poor service delivery.

One of the factors that led to the violence early this year was the feeling of marginalisation amongst youth and some communities.

In particular, young, educated people resented being locked out of decision-making roles. Sadly, the appointments did not address this.

Kenyans want a break from the past. They want a revolutionised and rejuvenated public service. They want a system that recognises and rewards merit, and not one that thrives on old boy networks.

Although Kenyans have been tolerant and accepted some excesses by the Grand Coalition government, the leaders must not take too many things for granted. Increasingly, the coalition is exhibiting signs of insensitivity. That is dangerous and must be stopped.

We want to believe those oldermanent secretaries are around just for the transition, and they will soon be phased out, allowing the Government to make fresh appointments and rejuvenate public service.

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