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State House suspends foreign travel by state officers, sets limit for accompanying delegation

State House Chief of Staff suspends all non-essential travel while at the same time limiting delegations on foreign trips.

The administration of President William Ruto has suspended non-essential travel for 13 categories of State Officers.

In a notice signed by State House Chief of Staff, Felix Koskei, the measure was described as part of realizing prudent and responsible utilization of public money.

“This has been necessitated by the need to scale down and prioritize spending, focusing on critical operations and activities that are essential to service delivery to the citizen,” the notice read in part.

Going forward, the government announced that foreign travel would be limited to engagements where Kenya’s participation is part of the fulfillment of state obligations or for the purpose of fulfilling statutory leadership.

The suspension of foreign travel affects members of the National and County Governments. 

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi will not be affected by the new suspension. 

Affected officials include the Attorney General, Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, and County Officers as well as the Controller of the Budget. 

Others include; the Auditor General, Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Director of Public Prosecutions, Clerk of the Senate, and his counterpart in the National Assembly. 

All County Governors, County Secretaries, and County Assembly Clerks will also be affected by the new directive.

Koskei further announced Chairpersons and CEOs of State Corporations, Statutory Offices, and Commissions as well as Independent Offices would also be suspended from non-essential travel.

In addition, the Head of Public Service Felix Koskei also announced restrictions on delegations accompanying the President, Deputy President, First Lady, and Prime Cabinet Secretaries for foreign trips.

Koskei indicated that delegations headed by Cabinet Secretaries shall not exceed three persons including the Cabinet Secretary as Head of the Delegation while delegations headed by Principal Secretaries, shall not exceed two persons.

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“Where the Cabinet Secretary is to be accompanied, at least one (1) of the delegates shall be a technical officer specialized in the subject matter of the foreign engagement, with no security or personal assistants/logistics officers other than as exempted,” reads the notice.

Delegations involving both Cabinet and Principal Secretaries shall be restricted to the three (3) person limit. 

“It is reiterated that Cabinet and Principal Secretaries in the same ministries shall not be away on foreign travel at the same time unless the foreign engagement expressly demands the same,” added Koskei.

Delegations headed by County Governors shall not exceed three persons including the Governor as Head of Delegation.

Delegations accompanying the President, the First Lady, the Deputy President, and the Prime Cabinet Secretary shall strictly be approved for officials playing a direct role in the scheduled activities/programme of the principals. 

In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs has been directed to rationalize the number of personnel accompanying each of the principals and reduce the same by fifty percent (50%).

With immediate effect, the government suspended benchmarking and study visits as well as training and related capacity-building initiatives. 

Additionally, the aforementioned state officers and commissioners will not be able to travel outside the country for research, academic meetings, conferences, and meetings of general participation.

The State House chief added that side events and caucus and association meetings and events were also banned with immediate effect. 

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