Nairobi — President William Ruto has defended his decision to appoint 50 Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) to deputize 22 Cabinet Secretaries citing a huge workload.
He said despite reservations by a section of taxpayers on the appointments, the fifty designated as deputy ministers will deliver value for money.
President Ruto explained that for him to implement the Kenya Kwanza Alliance manifesto he needs more hands-on deck for efficient delivery.
“On appointing CAS that’s the plan of my government. It’s my decision and I see the need for CAS to be there in my government,” said Ruto.
He argued top officials including Deputy Rigathi Gachagua and Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi were overwhelmed with work to the point of losing weight.
“Today my deputy is almost sleeping in the office. Even Musalia is losing weight nowadays because of work. I need more workers because the agenda of changing Kenya requires more hands and minds,” Ruto noted.
CASs have assumed office despite a conservatory order barring them from doing so amid mounting opposition by the public. It has emerged that the 50 CASs had taken office with some having embarked on their new roles.
Having been placed higher in the pecking order, CASs will be earning more than Principal Secretaries after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) raised their monthly pay to Sh780,000, putting them in the league of Kenya’s top six best-paid officials in the public service.
A new SRC advisory to the Public Service Commission (PSC) shows that a CAS’ monthly pay will rise from Sh765,188 following a job evaluation that put the position in a higher job grade.
The current and previous administrations have been seen to use the position to reward loyalists and election losers.
On March 24, High Court stopped fifty newly appointed CASs from assuming office pending the hearing and determination of a suit filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Katiba Institute.
Justice Hedwig Ong’undi also temporarily barred the 50 CASs from earning any salary, remuneration and any benefit until the court rules on the matter.
“Having read through the annexures, I am satisfied that interim conservatory orders are necessary. I therefore grant Prayer No 2 of the Notice of Motion in the interim,” Justice Ong’undi declared.
Petitioners argued the President cannot constitutionally create an office in the public service except upon the express recommendation of the of the Public Service Commission.
They further argued that the President, by nominating the 50 CASs to the office against an approved office establishment of 23, had unconstitutionally created 27 extra positions.
“Article 3 of the Constitution commands all interested parties to reject any unconstitutional appointment, office, or benefit as their personal obligation to defend and protect the constitution,” the petitioners told the court.