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Cablegate: Kenya's Cabinet Sworn In: An Overview

VZCZCXRO1278
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #1041/01 1091000
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181000Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5537
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0049
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5938
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 5236
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2769
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 2015
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2789
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2711
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NAIROBI 001041

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM KE
SUBJECT: KENYA'S CABINET SWORN IN: AN OVERVIEW

REF: A. NAIROBI 999
B. NAIROBI 989
C. NAIROBI 960 AND OTHERS

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) Ending weeks of contentious in-fighting between
President Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) and Prime
Minister Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Kenya's
expanded cabinet was sworn in today, April 17, with much pomp
and ceremony. As announced by the President on April 13 (see
refs A and B), the 40 ministries are evenly split between
PNU, its affiliates, and ODM. Odinga was appointed Prime
Minister. ODM's Musalia Mudavadi and KANU's Uhuru Kenyatta
were appointed Deputy Prime Ministers. PNU kept a number of
important ministries (Internal Security, Defense, Finance,
Justice, and Foreign Affairs), but ceded Local Government and
Public Service. Civil society has criticized the size of the
new government as inefficient and expensive. The government
takes regional and ethnic balance into account and broadly
reflects Kenya's demographics. Gender balance also factored
and seven women ministers were named. A couple of ministers
named have been implicated in alleged corruption and other
scandals. Many ministers have worked together in the past,
but there are still major questions about how well the
coalition will function. Key issues, such as the exact
powers of the Prime Minister, the delineation of powers of
the ministries, and appointments of senior civil service
members, still need to be resolved. These issues will be key
in determining the ability of the new government to function
effectively and we remain heavily engaged in helping the
parties address these issues. End Summary.

-------------------------------
Finally, White Smoke Appears...
-------------------------------

2. (U) After weeks of negotiations, the cabinet deal was
finally announced to an expectant nation on April 13
(reftels) and, amid much pomp and ceremony, cabinet members
were finally sworn in this afternoon, April 17. Raila Odinga
was named Prime Minister, with ODM's Musalia Mudavadi and
Uhuru Kenyatta named as Deputy Prime Ministers. Mudavadi and
Kenyatta will also hold the Local Government and Trade
portfolios, respectively. Including the Prime Minister and
the Attorney General, the total size of the Cabinet is 42.
The number of government ministries increased by six over the
previous government. Three entirely new ministries were
created -- Nairobi Metropolitan Development, Northern
Kenya/Arid Lands, and Industrialization. Others were created
by splitting existing ministries; Health was divided into
Public Health/Sanitation and Medical Services, separate Roads
and Public Works Ministries were created from what had been
one ministry. The previous Livestock and Fisheries
Development Ministry was also split in half. Previously
every ministry had two assistant ministers; in the current
government only ten ministries have two assistant ministers.
Since all ministers must be sitting MPs, however, 92 out of
222 parliamentarians now serve in the executive branch.
Assistant ministers were named from the opposite party as the
ministers to ensure balance.

3. (U) In naming the government, Kibaki and Raila relied
heavily on experienced MPs. The 70 percent turnover rate
from the Ninth Parliament left a relatively shallow pool of
experienced MPs. Since cabinet ministers are ineligible to
sit on parliamentary committees, important legislative and
oversight functions of parliament will be left largely to
inexperienced MPs.

-------------------------------------------
...and PNU Maintains Most of Its Ministries
-------------------------------------------

4. (U) In the new government, PNU maintained control of most
of the 18 ministries of the "half-government" named by
President Kibaki in early January. Throughout the
negotiations, ODM sought an even share of seven "power"

NAIROBI 00001041 002 OF 003


ministries. In the new government, PNU maintained control
over the majority of these -- Internal Security, Finance,
Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Defense -- ceding only Local
Government and Public Service ministries to ODM. PNU also
maintained control over Energy, Home Affairs, Transport, and
Housing. PNU contacts have said that the party is generally
satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations, but
acknowledged some hard-liners still feel too much was given
away.

5. (U) Sixteen of the 18 ministers named by Kibaki in
January were retained in the new government. Some personnel
shifts were required, however. Most importantly, Uhuru
Kenyatta was moved from Local Government to Trade. He was
compensated by being elevated to Deputy Prime Minister.
Long-time Kibaki loyalist John Michuki was moved from his
post at Road and Public Works to the less prestigious
Environment and Mineral Resources Ministry. Two minor
ministers lost their posts; each was appointed as an
assistant minister.

---------------------------------
ODM: "We should have done better"
---------------------------------

6. (U) Ministries which ODM got, such as Lands,
Water/Irrigation, Public Works, Roads, and Agriculture, are
key to implementing its reform and development agenda. Some
ODM MPs have complained publicly about the deal. ODM
spokesman Salim Lone told us that Odinga decided to put the
national interest above the party's interest and accepted the
"best deal he could get". Lone acknowledged that some are
dissatisfied, but stated that the party was dedicated to
making the government work.

7. (U) All of the key ODM party leadership ("the Pentagon")
and negotiating team members received ministerial posts.
Pentagon member (and Rift Valley kingpin) William Ruto was
appointed Minister of Agriculture. This position gives him a
key role in restarting agricultural production affected by
the post-election violence. He will also control 22
parastatal corporations. This will present the challenge --
and opportunity -- of resettling hundreds of thousands of
Kikuyu farmers driven out of the Rift Valley by Ruto's
Kalenjin tribesmen during the post-election crisis. The PNU
and Kibaki were not happy about Ruto's appointment because
they allege he was responsible for anti-Kikuyu violence in
Rift Valley. However, Kibaki did not seek to veto the
appointment.

--------------------------------------------
Civil Society Criticizes "Bloated" Government
--------------------------------------------

8. (U) Civil society groups criticized the new government as
bloated and expensive. During the negotiations, civil
society groups had demanded a government of not more than 25
ministries. This demand was echoed by segments of the media,
particularly the influential Daily Nation newspaper, which
proposed a 24 member government. In the end, Kibaki and
Odinga ignored these calls. After the announcement, groups
criticized the cost of such a large government given the
problems that Kenya faces. They also condemned Kibaki and
Odinga for rewarding tribal leaders. For their part, Kibaki
and Odinga argued that a large government was required to
ensure regional balance and harmony.

------------------------------------
Regional, Ethnic, and Gender Balance
------------------------------------

9. (U) The new government broadly reflects regional and
ethnic balance. Rift Valley Province received nine
ministerial positions, while Western received eight, followed
by Nyanza and Eastern Province with six each. Central
Province got five ministerial positions, Coast Province got
four, while North Eastern and Nairobi each received two.

10. (U) On ethnic balance, the GEMA grouping (Kikuyu, Embu,
Meru) has nine ministerial positions, while Kalenjin/Maasai

NAIROBI 00001041 003 OF 003


received eight, followed by Luhya with seven (eight,
including the Attorney General). There are five Luo
Ministers and five Muslim ministers. There are three Kamba
ministers, while western Bantu groups (Kisii/Kuria) received
two ministerial positions. The rest were filled from smaller
ethnic groups.

11. (U) Gender balance was taken into account in government
formation. The previous cabinet had one female minister.
This cabinet has seven. The most important ministries held
by women are Justice (Martha Karua) and Special Programs
(Naomi Shaban). This significant increase still falls short
of Kibaki's stated goal of 30% of posts for women, but is in
proportion women's numbers in parliament.

-----------------------------
Some Questionable Appointments
-----------------------------

12. (SBU) The new government contains some ministers and
assistant ministers on both sides who have been linked to
allegations of corruption, ethnic violence, and/or criminal
activities. On the PNU side, Internal Security Minister
George Saitoti is noted for his competence, but is also an
architect and beneficiary of the Goldenberg scandal of the
1990s. Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere is allegedly
involved in corruption.. Assistant Transport Minister John
Harun Mwau is reputedly involved in drug trafficking.

13. (SBU) Some ODM ministers also have checkered
reputations. Minister of Roads Kipkalya Kones served as
Roads Minister in the Moi era and was notorious for demanding
bribes to award contracts. Minister of Regional Development
Authorities Fred Gumo and Agriculture Minister William Ruto
have been allegedly linked to corrupt public land deals.
Minister of National Heritage and Culture William Ole Ntimama
is allegedly linked to both corruption and ethnic violence
during the Moi era. William Ruto is also suspected of
involvement in recent ethnic violence in Rift Valley and
similar violence during the 1990s.

-------
COMMENT
-------

14. (U) There are reasons for cautious optimism. President
Kibaki wants success to rebuild his international image and
legacy. Prime Minister Odinga wants to prove he can govern
effectively and advance his reform agenda. Many government
members have worked together with success in the past: 28
current ministers or assistant ministers served in the 2001
government KANU formed with the Odinga-led NDP party. On the
other hand, key issues must still be resolved, including
agreement on how the powers of the prime minister to
supervise and coordinate the government will be exercised
vis-a-vis the president. The appointment of high-level civil
servants and parastatal heads remains to be worked out. We
are intensively engaged to help the parties address these
issues and to support the coalition government to be
effective. End Comment.

RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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