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Why Jubilee technocrats find it rough at the table of politicians

By Wainaina Ndung’u | Published Sun, January 7th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 6th 2018 at 23:45 GMT +3
Going gets tough for Cabinet of technocrats President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William appointed [File| Standard]

When Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto won the presidency in 2013, one of their first public announcements was that they would largely appoint a Cabinet of technocrats.

In their first line-up, the only politicians appointed were Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu in Lands and Najib Balala in Mining. Later in 2015, Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, Dan Kazungu of Mining, Charles Keter of Energy and Water’s Eugene Wamalwa joined.

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But most of the technocrats appear not to have learned the first rule of the game - that there are no rules. Some failed to cultivate political patronage which had landed them there in the first place.

Some also failed to deliver, or were deemed by the general public to have failed.

Phyllis Kandie, the former East African Affairs, was moved to the Labour Ministry in the midterm reshuffle. Just like in her earlier ministry, she has remained largely out of the limelight even as the country has been engrossed in a series of workers’ strikes.

Embarrassing

His Sports colleague Hassan Wario also did not endear himself to many. The embarrassing Rio de Janeiro Olympic fiasco will take long to forget. Maybe he is not to blame, but the promise never came to pass.

Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohamed was seen as a darling of the Jubilee government, and in fact takes credit for the diplomatic lobbying that helped the Uhuruto cases at the International Criminal Court. But her goose may have been cooked when she lost contention for the African Union chairmanship.

Adan Mohamed, former renowned banker who has been the Industrialisation and Enterprise Development CS, may have over seen new investments but has remained largely behind the scenes with little or no political value. The same could be said of Prof Judi Wakhungu of Environment and Natural Resources.

Others facing the same fate are Jacob Kaimenyi of Lands, Sicily Kariuki of Gender and Youth Affairs and former Kenya Seed Company boss Willy Bett who head the Agriculture docket.

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