The 1979 Elections and the 'First' Nyayo Era Cabinet

President Moi announcing his cabinet

Parliamentary and Presidential elections were held in November 1979. 740 candidates contested the 140 available seats. The elections saw many long standing members (include seven Cabinet Ministers) loose their seats, thus ushering in a new cadre of leaders.

President Moi was elected unopposed and shortly thereafter begun the process of forming the first 'Nyayo era' cabinet. On Wednesday November 28, 1979, President Moi formally announced his 'First' cabinet (previous cabinet was by and large inherited from President Kenyatta).

The full text of his speech on announcing the cabinet follows:

"My fellow countrymen: the main purpose of this address is to let you know those persons I have appointed to be ministers in the next cabinet, assisstant ministers and the senior officers I have appointed as permanent secretaries. But before announcing the names of the persons involved I want to make a number of remarks on this occasion.

First, I take this opportunity to thank you all, again, for the active participation in the recent elections in which you conducted yourselves in such a peaceful and exemplary fashion. I assure you all of my thanks, personally. I was not surprised with either the very large turnout of voters or the peaceful manner in which the elections were held. I was not surprised because I know the people of Kenya are now politically mature; and they thoroughly understand what their interests are; that they know those who are able to assist them in promoting those interests; and that they are determined to uphold the Nyayo philosophy of peace, love and unity.

My dear countrymen, I also take this opportunity to call upon each Kenyan to forget any differences which might have come up or were highlighted during the election campaign. If your candidate was not elected, that does not mean that you as a person lost the election. You must remember that not all persons can be leaders at the same time. Therefore, you must give the elected member of parliament from your area your full support. For those who lost in the election, let me say that I expect them, too, to work hand in hand with their members of parliament and my government in serving the nation. Not all of us can be members of parliament at the same time. But that does not mean that those not in parliament cannot make direct and important contributions to development.

The second point I want to make on this occasion is that one basic consideration I have borne in mind in selecting persons to be appointed ministers or senior officials is dedication to the cause of nation building. We must have, as leaders, people who put Kenya and her people before themselves. Anyone who puts himself first is not fit to be a leader in our country. While saying this, let me also stress that concern with service for the people should not only apply to ministers and permanent secretaries. This is a concern which must apply with full force to all members of parliament, councillors, all KANU officials and all public servants. In any case, and as far as the politicians are concerned, I hope that they have learnt from the past and previous elections that unless they put the service of the people first, they are unlikely to be re-elected.

As far as the public servants are concerned, I shall maintain my efforts to promote efficiency and wipe out corrupt practices.

I call upon all Kenyans to help me in pursuing that objective. Thirdly, in undertaking this whole exercise, I have also re-examined the structure of the government machinery at the head-quarters level. The actual structure of the government machinery plays a very important part in determining the efficiency of that machinery in serving the nation.

Since independence, the structure of our government machinery has remained more or less unchanged. After looking ahead and considering the great challenges our nation will face in the 1980s, I came to the conclusion that the government machinery was in need of substantial restructuring. I do not want you to be alarmed, but I must say that the 1980s will be difficult years, mainly because of external forces. We must, therefore, ensure that the structure of our government machinery facilitates, among other things, maximum efficiency. One of the important requirements in all this is clear allocation of functions and responsibilities among government departments. Another requirement is comprehensiveness - that is, the extent to which all aspects and areas in our economic and social development are, with regard to direct and indirect efforts of the government, adequately covered.

It is with consideration of this nature in mind that the new structure of the government machinery, which I am about to announce, includes some new ministries and some fundamental changes in framework of some of the existing ones. The list of ministries and their functions are detailed in Circular No. 1/79 which will be issued by my office shortly. In this address, I would like to highlight only some of the changes.

To begin with, I have decided to appoint three Ministers of State to work in my office. For some good reasons, the responsibilities coming under the Office of the President have grown considrably since independence. As is well known, during the development process a country becomes more complex in its outlook, range of activities and structure. This in turn means that an effective co-ordinator becomes increasingly important and necessary. The growth in the responsibilities which need a central coordinator at the highest level has therefore been, in our case, a natural one. In this reorganization I have also decided to include defence, the Kerio Valley, the Lake Basin, and the Tana Development Authorities as well as the Kenya Council for Science and Technology.

Secondly, I have decide to establish a Ministry of Enery to ensure that more attention is given, in a systematic and comprehensive manner, to our energy requirements. I take this opportunity to stress again to you all the importance of doing the best we can to promote the economic use of energy, especially oil. This new ministry will also be expected to be very active in exploration and the development of non-conventional sources of energy, especially wind, solar and biogas.

Third, there will be a new Ministry of Transport and Communications. At the moment, responsibilities and functions of this vitally important area are widely scattered in the government. I have, therefore, decided to bring all those functions and responsibilities together under one ministry. This arrangement should facilitate proper coordination and be complementary to the various modes of transport and communication.

Fourth, there will be a new Ministry of Industry. It is clear that, in the area of industrialization, our country is now at the crossroads. The next phase of industrialization will require, among other things, more sophistication in product design, application of technology and market development. We must, therefore, have one ministry which can cocentrate its efforts on all aspects of future industrialization in our nation.

Fifth, I have decided that the environment is something which should be given more attention in the future than has been in the case so far. The responsibility will now come under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. Other responsibilities of that ministry will include wildlife management, game control and preservation, and fisheries.

Sixth, I have given considerable amount of thought regarding our efforts and future plans in the crucially important and wide ranging areas of education. I have come to the conclusion that there should be two ministries to undetake this considerable national responsibility. One will be the ministry of basic education, which will handle all aspects of pre-primary and primary education, and special education programmes. This ministry will do the planning for the introduction of nine-year primary school education programme as one of the top priority items. The introduction of that nine-year primary education programme is an essential element in ensuring sound preparation of our children for their future role in the development of our nation. The other ministry will be the Ministry of Higher Education, which will deal with secondary schools education programmes and related activities such as secondary school teacher training, technical teacher training, university education and the development of harambee institutes of technology. As regards the latter, I repeat my assurance that the government will give more direct assistance and guidance to ensure proper development of these institutes and their integration in our public education system.

Seventh, another area in which fundamental changes in the machinery of the government are needed is agriculture. At the moment this is a very large ministry. Agriculture is also one of our most important sectors, with many opportunities yet to be made full use of. I have decided to split the ministry into two: there will be the Ministry of Agriculture, whose main responsibilities will be crop production and land use. The other ministry will be the Minstry of Livestock Development, which will concentrate on the development of livestock and animal industry in general. I am hopeful that this measure will ensure that, in every part of the republic, agricultural potentials are fully exploited, that we continue to feed ourselves, and that agriculture will provide us with even more employment and foreign exchange earnings.

Eighth, restructuring is also needed in the field of local government programmes and urban development in general. Local government activities are very important, indeed, in our present system of development. Moreover, since local authorities have a lot to do with urban development and since we have now reached a stage at which we must ensure thorough planning of our urban development, if only in order to avoid problems which have afflicted some other countries where such growth has been left to take its own course, the government must take and maintain a more direct interest in this area. I have, therefore, decided to establish a ministry of local government and urban development. Physical planning will be one of the important responsibilites of this ministry.

I have not introduced many changes in the other ministries such as finance, foreign affairs, home affaris, housing and social services, co-operative development, water development, labour and information and broadcasting. With all the changes in the machinery of government, we shall now have 24 ministries, as follows:

Once again, let me say that one of the major considerations I had in mind in designing this new structure was the importance of ensuring efficiency. It is now necessary that the management capability of the entire government machinery be raised and maintained at a high level."


President Daniel Arap Moi

Mwai Kibaki



James S. Gichuru
Minister of State in the Office of the President




Robert Matano
Minister for Social Services and Housing


G.G. Kariuki
Minister of State in the Office of the President



K.Nicholas K. Biwott
Minister of State in the Office of the President



James Osogo
Minister of Agriculture



Jeremiah Nyaga
Minister of Livestock Development



Zacharia Onyonka
Minister of Economic Planning


Munyua Waiyaki
Minister for Energy


Stanley Oloitiptip
Minister for Home Affairs



Mathews Ogutu
Minister of Co-operative Development



Eluid Mwamunga
Minister for Industry



Paul Ngei
Minister for Works



Dr. Robert Ouko
Minister for Foreign Affairs



Arthur Magugu
Minister for Health



Charles Rubia
Minister for Local Government and Urban Planning



Joseph Kamotho
Minister for Higher Education



John Okwanyo
Minister for Commerce



Moses Mudavadi
Minister for Basic Education



Elijah Mwangale
Minister for Labour


Gilbert M'mbijiwe
Minister for Tourism


Jonathan Ngeno
Minister for Water Development



Andrew J. Omanga
Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment


Henry Kosgey
Minister for Transport and Communication




Daniel Mutinda
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting


Charles Njonjo
Attorney General



©2001 State House, Nairobi and Science and Engineering Research Center