Government business continuity following anticipated mass resignation of key public officers

February 4, 2022 - 5 minutes read

Succession in government offices has been making headlines following the announcement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that public officers seeking elective posts should resign.The IEBC has gazetted notice that public officers vying in the August elections, should resign from public office on or before Tuesday, February 8, 2022, (6 months before the elections).

Numerous senior public officials, including Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Chief Administrative Secretaries, and CEO’s of state corporations are rumoured to or have declared their intention to vie for elected positions. The comprehensive list of resignations will be confirmed after February 9, 2022. 

The resignations have posed concerns surrounding the continuity of the mandate of the respective offices for the six months preceding the General Election. 

However, stakeholders can anticipate that the resignations may be cushioned by temporary appointments for the vacated positions. The temporary appointments shall be valid until the completion of the elections, upon which the President-elect shall embark on a Cabinet reshuffle. 

Below is a summary of the process for appointment of provisional senior public officers:

Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) – The President shall appoint an acting Cabinet Secretary from the pool of existing Cabinet members that have opted not to vacate their offices. Therefore, the acting CS shall possess mandate over the ministry they were initially appointed to, as well as mandate over the ministry they are temporarily appointed to. Considering that existing CSs have undergone vetting before the National Assembly prior to appointment within their respective ministries, the acting CS only requires presidential approval for appointment.

Principal Secretaries (PSs) – The President shall appoint an acting Principal Secretary from the pool of existing principal secretaries that have opted not to vacate their offices. Therefore, the acting PS shall possess mandate over the ministry they were initially appointed to, as well as mandate over the ministry they are temporarily appointed to. Considering that existing PSs are nominated by the Public Service Commission and have undergone vetting before the National Assembly prior to appointment within their respective ministries, the acting PS only requires presidential approval for appointment. 

Chief Administrative Secretaries (CASs) that have resigned are not anticipated to be replaced with acting secretaries and their role shall be vacant until the President-elect assumes office and begins the Cabinet reshuffle. 

Senior public officers in state corporations shall be appointed by the CS from the respective Ministry, while public officers that functionally report to PSs shall be replaced by the PS they report to.

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