President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to make radical changes in his Cabinet as he starts his second and last term in office. Sources close to State House say 11 Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) and 19 Principal Secretaries (PSs) could be jobless within two weeks after the President is sworn in on Tuesday.
The President is understood to have told his ministers and PSs at a meeting this week that his administration would not reward mediocrity and corruption. A preliminary list of possible appointees and those facing the sack had been put together on Thursday, the content of which is under close scrutiny of President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
During a meeting bringing together CSs and their PSs, President Kenyatta was resolute that whoever knows they have been involved in matters unbecoming of their various offices, ‘they had better begin to pack’. The 30 CSs and PSs set to face the sack are believed to have fallen short of expectations and are now living on borrowed time.
There are, however, a few of them who according to sources are seen to have met expectations.
“The President will surprise many people. That you can be sure. There is no friendship this time, it is either you did your job or you did not,” a source said. By close of business Friday, only Transport CS James Macharia, Fred Matiang’i, Charles Keter and Eugene Wamalwa were assured of making a comeback. It was, however, understood that former Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba is struggling to make it to the list ahead of Wamalwa in terms of Western Kenya consideration in public appointments.
New entrants Others being mentioned as possible entrants include Prof George Magoha as Education CS, former governor Peter Munya while former Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua is angling for Head of Public Service currently held by Joseph Kinyua, who is retiring. The President is keen to tap into individuals with proven track record as he shapes up his legacy and as he fixes the economy following months of protracted political activity.
It is against this backdrop that some of the senior civil servants at the levels of deputy principal secretaries are likely to take over responsibilities as Regional balance is also a significant consideration that could eventually see loyalists miss out in the Cabinet as President Kenyatta seek to achieve a cohesive nation following a highly divisive presidential contest. This coupled with Ruto’s hand as he seeks to use the government formation to set the mood for 2022 politics will make the process a complex equation.
Back at home, President Kenyatta is not sitting pretty after the political leadership of his Mt Kenya turf ganged up to reject re-appointment of Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri. While Uhuru had advised Kiunjuri not to contest for political office which pundits interpreted as an assurance for re-appointment into Cabinet, Kiunjuri has himself been rejected by the political leadership of Mt Kenya. Majority of elected leaders have since shared their concerns with President Kenyatta that Kiunjuri’s re-appointment can only serve to divide the region even further. Speaking to the Saturday Standard Friday, Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina said Mt Kenya’s political leadership is resolute about their appeal to the President on Kiunjuri.
“I am speaking on behalf of Mt Kenya political leadership and I am sure the people of Laikipia share in our concerns. We no longer trust and have lost confidence in CS Kiunjuri because of many reasons among them schemes to sabotage Jubilee candidates in our area and many other things. He cannot and does not represent our region. As political leaders from this area, we believe in President Kenyatta’s wisdom. We have no doubt that in making his appointments, he will go for people who will unite this region as opposed to those who have created divisions,” he said. Kiunjuri’s trouble with Mt Kenya political leaders has been evident in public forums. Events leading to the funeral of former Nyeri governor Wahome Gakuru brought to the fore those differences.
Despite being the inter-phase between the county governments and the national government, Nyeri political leaders rejected him when he was proposed to chair the funeral committee and he was not even given a chance to speak during the funeral attended by Uhuru and Ruto.
The leaders settled for Communications CS Joe Mucheru. Sworn affidavit One of the Secretary Generals of AIPCEA Church in Mt Kenya has also sworn an affidavit and sent it to Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju with a copy to Uhuru accusing Kiunjuri of luring him to support independent candidates against the President’s party.
“Kiunjuri is a difficult choice because as you know, the President had asked him to concentrate on the campaigns. But the problem is that he has fallen out with almost every elected political leader in Mt Kenya. They have basically rejected him which makes his appointment quite complicated because the thinking is that if he is appointed, he will basically become a baggage because there won’t be harmony between him and political leaders,” said a source within the presidency.
This complicated dynamics puts the President between a rock and a hard place. Others on difficult positions because of past events in their ministries include Sport CS Hassan Wario and his Health counterpart Cleopa Mailu.