President-elect targets new faces for Cabinet posts

President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta (second right) and his Deputy William Ruto (right)
meet Church leaders under the National Council of Churches of Kenya led by the
Secretary General Peter Karanja (left) and Archbishop EliudWabukala, at KICC.
Nairobi, yesterday.[PHOTO: PPS]
By Juma Kwayera

President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta faces daunting challenge of healing a nation torn down the middle by last month’s closely contested presidential election, whose final outcome had to be determined by the Supreme Court.

There is consensus that the new government navigate around the brittle antipathy awakened domination, which was the source of the conflict that exposed deep-seated ethnic hostilities in Kenya politics in 2007 General Election.

Jubilee has promised to re-engineer public service by dispensing with “grey-haired” old men in preference to gizmo generation, a major departure from the current scenario where nearly all sectors are under ‘elders’.

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An authoritative source in Jubilee told The Standard On Sunday that Uhuru and Ruto are alive to the high expectations they have set, especially the challenge to reconcile a divided nation.

Some of the names that have been floated for “hostile” electoral areas include Kenya’s information and technology whizkid, Shem Ochuodho, who is prime candidate for a Cabinet slot to assuage Nyanza Province. Dr Ochuodho has distinguished himself as a scholar, a politician, and  technocrat of international acclaim.

Professionalism

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 Dr Ochuodho, who wears the tag of the ‘father of Internet’ in Kenya, says: “In considerations, merit should prevail. That is what the drafters the new Constitution envisaged when they put a clear line between politics and professionalism. I am ready to serve in the new Government if asked.”

Other names being mentioned from Nyanza include former ambassador to India Lazarus Amayo, former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission chief PLO Lumumba, and Kenya Literature Bureau Managing Director Dr Eva Obara. Mr Amayo is now a high-ranking technocrat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after another diplomatic posting in Zambia.

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“In Nyanza and Western, you can appoint somebody who ends up being rejected at home as a sell-out. The appointing authorities are shopping for technocrats who appeal to regions they come from and beyond,” he says.

Musalia Mudavadi and Eugene Wamalwa are widely expected to land plum positions, while distinguished lawyer Stephen Mwenesi, former African Online chief executive Ayisi Makatiani (now the chief executive of Fanisi Capital Ltd), former Kenya Commercial Bank managing director, Dr Martin Oduor-Otieno top the list of candidates who might be considered on the basis of their expertise.

Mwenesi told The Standard On Sunday he has not been approached, neither has he heard of talk of the possibility of joining the Government. Mwenesi is, however, not averse to contributing to the national good. “What cannot be denied is that the incoming team must observe the one-third gender rule provided for in the new Constitution in public appointments. The country remains fragmented and it is incumbent upon the new government to prioritise merit ahead of everything else,” Mwenesi said.

Coast, where separatist group, the Mombasa Republican Council is pushing for secession, Jubilee faces the task of appeasing a region complaining of official neglect.

Besides the usual Najib Balala and Chirau Mwakwere, the likes of former Central of Bank of Kenya deputy governor Jacinta Mwatela have occasionally been floated.

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Ruto’s URP is grappling with how to fill the finance portfolio cognizance of the fact that the chair of Revenue Allocation Commission and Salaries and Remuneration Commission Micah Cheresem and Sarah Serem, are from Rift Valley. 

As a result of this dilemma, Barclays Bank executive Adan Mohammed is now on the radar for the key slot of finance.

In Rift Valley, Kenya Airways boss Titus Naikuni, outgoing information minister Samuel Poghisio, are also touted for possible Cabinet slots.

From Eastern, Charity Ngilu and Wavinya Ndeti are quietly but fiercely tussling for appointment to the Cabinet.

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Uhuru Kenyatta Supreme Court General Election Mombasa Republican Council