Rare show of unity as Uhuru Cabinet reunites at Magoha memorial

Barbra Magoha wife to the late Education CS Prof George Magoha and other visitors look on as the former president Uhuru Kenyatta signs the condolences book when he visited to condole with the family after the demise of professor Magoha. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

On Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived at the home of Prof George Magoha in Lavington, accompanied by former First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, to join the family in mourning.

Donning a white short-sleeved shirt and black trousers, Uhuru signed the visitors’ book before proceeding to condole with the former Education Cabinet Secretary’s family.

After exchanging pleasantries with friends and family present, he took to the podium where he poured his heart out in an ode to Magoha.

Magoha, who was Uhuru’s last CS for education, died on January 24 at the Nairobi Hospital, aged 71.

Uhuru seized the opportunity during his speech to hit out at the Kenya Kwanza administration which has been breathing down his neck.

Among the mourners were former Cabinet secretaries -who served alongside Magoha in the Uhuru administration.

The reunion of former colleagues and CSs Fred Matiang’i, Ukur Yatani, Eugene Wamalwa, Joe Mucheru’ and former PS Karanja Kibicho had the hallmarks of a “boys’ club”.

As they sat side by side in the tent, they relived the camaraderie of office life having all served for close to 10 years under the Uhuru regime.

They wore matching outfits: black suits and plain white shirts, save for former Treasury CS Ukur Yattani who adorned a navy blue suit.

All the while, their interaction was cheerful. Their unity, despite having left the reins of power months ago, was not in doubt.

For many of them, their last official meeting as Cabinet Secretaries was on October 3, last year, when President William Ruto chaired his first and last meeting with them.

Their actions portrayed buddies who had now formed a close-knit network over the past months.

They made reference to each other as ‘Waziri’ and when retired President Uhuru led an onslaught on the current government, they followed suit.

Uhuru opened the attack against Ruto and his allies after he urged the current administration to stop talking too much and focus on service delivery.

“… there are two types of people. There are people who talk a lot about what they will do and do nothing and those are many. But there are people who will talk a little and their deeds are seen,” he said.

He was responding to Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s concerns that the current administration was victimising the former Head of State.

Took cue

And when it was the former CSs got turn to speak, they took cues from their former boss.

“If professor George Magoha had not served at the Ministry of Education, Nemis (the data-based National Education Management Information System) would not have worked. Nobody should take credit for it because it was former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s plan…some people behave as if nothing was happening before (they assumed office),” said Matiang’i in a salvo targeting the government of the day.

Lauding the sentiments of Matiang’i, Kibicho narrated an instant where Magoha almost resigned as a matter of principle but his intervention saw Magoha rescind his decision.

Immediately the prayers and thanksgiving session were over, the former CSs all hurdled around Uhuru as they sought to have his ear.

Their mannerisms betrayed deep respect and admiration for their seemingly “forever” boss and portrayed a clique united by their shared past.

The Standard
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