Kenya’s massive new cabinet risks ineptitude: analysts

NAIROBI, April 17, 2008 (AFP) – Kenya’s massive 42-member power-sharing cabinet, named to help restore stability after a bloody post-poll dispute, risks becoming crippled by inefficiency, analysts said. President Mwai Kibaki on Sunday appointed political rival Raila Odinga as his prime minister under a February 28 power-sharing deal that ended months of political violence sparked by disputed December elections.

In the new cabinet — the biggest since its 1963 independence from Britain — Kibaki turned departments into ministries in order to create room for allies and reward loyalties.

“The size is too big and the chain of command is not clear. It is going to bring about some confusion,” said Jeremiah Owiti of the Nairobi-based Centre for Independent Research.

But Kenyan politicians offered an upbeat assessment of the new government.

“The process of reconciliation has begun and the cabinet must speak in one voice,” Odinga told reporters Monday, while a Kibaki ally, Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula, vowed that if members work as a team “we will deliver.”

The naming of the cabinet had been delayed when Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) and Odinga’s Orange Democratic Mo