Old faces among those shortlisted for PS positions

Prof Margaret Kobia, the PSC chairman at a past function.  FILE
Prof Margaret Kobia, the PSC chairman at a past function. FILE 

Serving Permanent secretaries, corporate heads and ambassadors are among personalities shortlisted for Principal Secretary positions, the recently released list by the Public Service Commission shows.

The list includes those who have been the face of Public Service for years, casting doubt on whether they will match the image created by the four fresh Cabinet secretary nominees named by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday.

The 155 shortlisted candidates include current public servants and permanent secretaries seeking to retain their positions,

Among them are permanent secretaries Dr Bitange Ndemo, (Information and Communication ministry), Dr Edward Sambili (Planning), Ambassador Ruth Solitei (Transport), David Stower (Tourism).

Others are Dr Cyrus Njiru the permanent secretary in the Water and Irrigation ministry and the Information secretary, Dr Ezekiel Mutua.

There are more than 20 serving permanent secretaries missing in the list including, Mutea Iringo (Internal Security), Dr Mohammed Isahakia – PM office, Dr Karanja Kibicho (Transport), Prof Karega Mutahi (Local Govt), Patrick Nyoike (Energy), Joseph Kinyua (Finance), and Thuita Mwangi (Foreign Affairs) (See full list of those missing)

The vacancies attracted a lot of public interest, with a total of 2, 088 applicants submitting their applications before the April deadline.

The Public Service advertised the vacancies three consecutive times, a move that raised suspicion with consumer lobby group reading mischief.

The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek), in a letter addressed to the Public Service Commission chair Ms Margaret Kobia, had complained about re-advertisements saying they raised fears that the commission was targeting certain people favoured by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government. To address these concerns, Cofek insisted that the names of those who had applied be made public.

The shortlist also has done commendably, meeting a near one-third gender rule. There are 47 shortlisted female candidates representing 30.2 per cent of the selected applicants.

Among the 47 women female candidates is Kenya Association of Manufacturers chairperson, Ms Betty Maina, Njoki Kahiga, a public servant who worked as acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of State for Public Service, and National Oil managing director, Ms Sumayya Hassan-Athmani.

The list has also attracted a good number of corporate heads like Kenyatta National Hospital chief executive officer Mr Richard Lesiyampe, Kenya Power managing director Joseph Njoroge, Tea Board of Kenya's managing director Cecily Kariuki and M.O Kindenda, managing director Kenya Highways Authority.