Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Colossal Cabinet

If you haven’t seen the headlines, watch out for Kenya’s colossal cabinet. The country recently approved a 42-member cabinet complete with 42 Assistant Ministers. This is by far the largest cabinet in Africa and to my knowledge, the largest Government Cabinet in the world. Despite the fact that the majority of Kenyans live in poverty, each of the new Cabinet Ministers will be paid substantially more than their Western counterparts, earning entertainment allowances, security, cars, and up to $150,000 each. The London Times lists Kenya’s annual budget at 5.4 billion pounds. During the next year, they calculated that eighty percent will go to the new ministers and to the basic government operating costs. This leaves just a small fraction for schools, hospitals, roads, infrastructure, and the 37 million other Kenyans who weren’t included in the new coalition government. Most Kenyans are deeply distressed with the cabinet size and with the bloated bureaucracy and corruption that will surely follow. Nonetheless, everyone here is greatly relieved an agreement was reached. Kenyans are willing to pay the price if it means they can live in peace.

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