By Alex Ndegwa
President Kibaki has named Nelson Githinji the new State House Comptroller.
Dr Githinji, a private sector professional, takes over the State House job that has seen two of his predecessors leave under a cloud of controversy.
He also becomes the first official occupant of the position whose influence was substantially whittled down in April when President Kibaki split the roles of State House Comptroller into two.
As Comptroller, Githinji will be responsible for Finance and Administration at the House on the Hill. Githinji: New State House Comptroller
Githinji: New State House Comptroller
The Private Secretary — a post held currently by former Vice-Chancellor at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Nick Wanjohi — handles the President’s diary and official programmes.
A statement sent to newsrooms by the Presidential Press Service yesterday said: "Following separation of the office of Private Secretary/Comptroller, State House, Dr Nelson Githinji has been appointed Comptroller State House."
It added: "The appointment takes effect immediately."
Githinji has served as the Head of Policy, Corporate and Government Relations for Coca Cola East and Central Africa. On June 30 last year Githinji represented First Lady Lucy Kibaki at the Organisation of Africa First Ladies Against HIV and Aids 6th Ordinary General Assembly at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt.
He is an active member of the Kenyan Chapter of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV and Aids. He previously worked with SmithKline Beecham as Group Product Manager (Food & Beverages) between 1994 and 2002.
Githinji replaces Hyslop Ipu, who was moved to the Ministry of Roads in April. Mr Ipu was appointed Acting Private Secretary and Comptroller of State House in January 2004, but left last year under unexplained circumstances. His departure coincided with last year’s Christmas/New Year presidential holiday in Mombasa.
Kibaki’s first Comptroller, his longtime ally Mr Matere Keriri, was shown the door in 2003 after a spat with the First Lady.
The latest appointment adds to the re-organisation and behind the scenes manoeuvres that dog Kibaki’s State House.