By ISAAC ONGIRI
The vacuum left behind by the sudden death of Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode must be among the things uppermost in the two principals’ minds as they mourn the two ministers.
With heightened security challenges domestically and increased terror threats from Al Shabaab, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga must be thinking hard on where to get two safe pair of hands on which to lay the country’s most powerful ministerial portfolio.
Saitoti was among Kibaki’s most trusted allies, and Ojode also enjoyed a close working relationship with the President. Indeed, the late MP for Ndhiwa was the only trusted ODM MP inside the Kibaki circles.
A strong personality, energetic, firm and trustworthy individual is what Kibaki will be looking for as he seeks to find replacement for Saitoti in the homeland security docket as Kenya prepares for the General Election.
The President would probably want to use the opportunity to spur ethnic balance in the State security team dominated by individuals from one region.
He could also ignore national cries for ethnic balance at the sensitive docket and get one of his trusted allies from Mt Kenya into the crucial docket.
Already, Transport Minister Amos Kimunya has been mentioned as the man Kibaki would possibly want to move from Transcom House to the centre of power at Harambee House to replace Saitoti. Also being touted for the Internal Security post is Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, a longtime Kibaki ally.
But still others say it is Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella, a retired army colonel with international bomb handling training background, Kibaki could invite into the Cabinet to continue from where Saitoti left off.
Konchella, one of Saitoti’s confidantes, served as Immigration Minister in the Narc Government.
Assistant Minister Katoo ole Metito, closely linked to the increasingly influential Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, has also been mentioned as Saitoti’s possible replacement.
Though it is highly likely that the principals could pick an MP from the Maa community to replace Saitoti, Kibaki could initiate a Cabinet reshuffle to trigger some balance.