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Kenyans Pleased With Lawmakers’s ‘Bloated’ Cabinet Reduction Call


Kenyans have welcomed calls by parliamentarians for a drastic reduction in what are some are calling the coalition government's 'bloated' cabinet.

Kenya currently has 42 cabinet ministers as a result of the agreement that effectively ended the 2007 post-election violence.

But the lawmakers contend that the current economy is incapable of sustaining that many cabinet ministers.

The lawmakers raised a motion demanding government reduce the number of cabinet ministers to 24.

But skeptics say it is unlikely the government will succumb to the lawmakers' demand.

Gitobu Imanyara, a Kenyan lawmaker said that parliament is "highly" displeased with the swollen cabinet.

"It isn't a law as yet. That was a motion recommending the government introduces legislation to cut down the number of ministries. Because right now we have a very bloated cabinet of 42," Imanyara said.

He said the recent financial crisis affecting poor countries makes it impossible to have a large cabinet.

"Everybody agrees that the economy right now cannot support that kind of ministries. So this is a reaction by members of parliament back-bench group. It is one of the ways of protest, but it has no legal force," he said.

Imanyara denied a reduction in the cabinet could undermine the unity government.

'I don't believe that is so because people who voted are cross the two sides of government. So, it is the same coalition partners who are recognizing that the national accord as drawn brought far too much pressure on the economy," Imanyara said.

He said the lawmakers who presented the motion could force the government to take action.

"They can follow the same procedure that I followed with the Special Tribunal Bill. The same number of parliament can introduce a bill now to pass to enact law rather than to just pass a motion," he said.

Imanyara said it would be challenging for the government to refuse to adhere to a bill to reduce the number of cabinet ministers.

"A bill results in law, and the president cannot ignore the law because parliament can override a presidential veto," he said.

The lawmakers also contend that the bloated cabinet including President Mwai Kibaki as well as Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been infective in addressing the problems of the masses.

Meanwhile, political observers say both the president and the prime minster are being held hostage to regional and ethnic interests, which they claim promote tribalism and nepotism.

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