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Avoid hasty plans for drastic changes in government



Any change of government provides an opportunity to fine-tune systems and sometimes change policies. In a democratic setup, there should be a fair amount of continuity, as the government remains largely intact.

Though there will be changes at the very top in departments and ministries, the civil service does not get replaced. Also, the people in the new leadership are not total strangers. Granted, on assuming leadership, they come fired up to inject new ideas to upstage their predecessors.

The Kenya Kwanza government should have had it much easier, as its leader was the deputy Head of State for 10 years. President William Ruto is an experienced hand in national management. He must clamp down on the undue excitement.

We are seeing much less of the cherished collective responsibility and more unilateral pronouncements by Cabinet and Principal secretaries that are creating needless confusion in the three-month-old administration.

The proposed policy and structural changes to a functioning government are certainly driven by the need to align the instruments of governance to the Kenya Kwanza manifesto. They are, of course, aware that the voters and their rivals are monitoring their performance against their election campaign pledges.

The latest controversial moves are the proposal to create the office of the leader of the official opposition and the decision to scrap boarding schools next month. The latter has caught parents flatfooted, as they are being required to find new schools for their children.

These proposed changes have far-reaching legal implications. They cannot be the stuff of roadside declarations. On the opposition leader’s office, some experts have pointed out that it could significantly alter the basic structure of the government.

Such far-reaching alterations must be subjected to the constitutional requirement of public participation, for instance, through a referendum. Certainly aware of the cost implications, the leadership would wish to avoid this. Though it is already flexing its numerical strength in Parliament, it is only logical that any changes are done properly and legally.

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