Uhuru creates new powerful post and rewards election losers

New Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui (centre) is congratulated by friends and relatives at the Nairobi Safari Club upon his appointment to the cabinet by President Uhuru Kenyatta. He said he is upto the task and his main priority is food security for the country. [Elvis Ogina.Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday announced the creation of a new position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in every ministry.

The President said the CAS position will further enhance the operations of Cabinet Secretaries in running various ministries.

His statement also appeared to have indicated that the CAS will be second in command in the ministries as they will be coordinating work by state departments headed by Principal Secretaries.

“Today, I have a few names that I would like to read. But before I do so, let me say that for the efficient operation of government and indeed taking into account the need of having a government that reflects the diversity of our nation and indeed one that can help me deliver on my mandate I pledged to Kenyans over the campaign period and also having consulted the constitutional mandated body and receiving advise from the Public Service Commission as required by article (132) (4A) of our Constitution, I have decided to establish a new position in government, the position of Chief Administrative Secretary in all our ministries,” the Present said.

The move, seen by some as a bloated Executive, effectively takes away the clout enjoyed by Principal Secretaries because CASs are largely seen to be senior to the PSs. This could bring the list of top government officers at that level to 80.

It is also notable that CAS positions have largely been given to politicians who supported President Kenyatta’s re-election but lost their political bids.

President Kenyatta appeared to have re-introduced the position of assistant ministers that was in the previous dispensation.

Even though the titles are different, the job description of an assistant minister is similar to the CASs as announced by President Kenyatta yesterday.

“The Chief Administrative Secretary would broadly be responsible for helping the Cabinet Secretary to better coordinate the running of the affairs of their respective ministries,” the President added.


Among those nominated to the newly created position of CAS are Rachel Shebesh who will be CAS in the ministry of Public Service. She lost in the Nairobi Woman Representative race to ODM’s Esther Passaris.

Hussein Dado, who lost his Tana River gubernatorial seat to ODM’s Dadho Godana, will be at the ministry of Devolution as CAS.

Former Budalang'i MP Ababu Namwamba who lost to ODM’s Raphael Wanjala will be the new CAS Foreign Affairs while Winnie Guchu, who resigned from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to serve in the Jubilee Secretariat, will be CAS Ministry of Water. Former Kisii Senator Chris Obure who lost his governorship bid to ODM’s James Ongwae has been given a lifeline as CAS Ministry of Transport.

Former Subukia MP Nelson Gaichuhie will be the new CAS at Treasury while Patrick Ole Ntuntu, who ran for Narok governorship but lost to incumbent Samuel Tunai heads to Interior ministry as CAS.

Lamu politician Rishad Amana will be in the ministry of health as CAS with former West Pokot governor Simon Kachapin, who lost to Kanu’s Prof John Lonyangapuo, will be at Jogoo House as CAS Education.

Former Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro who lost his bid for Kilifi Governor to ODM’s Amason Kingi will be at Ardhi House as CAS Lands.

Jubilee’s Abdul Bahari, who lost the Isiolo governorship to Abdi Kuti (Independent), will be at Ministry of Labour as CAS.

Ken Obura who lost in the ODM primaries for the Kisumu Central MP to Fred Ouda will be the new CAS at the Ministry of East Africa Affairs. 

The President also announced that he will also be making further appointments in coming days.

Assistant ministers seats were allocated to politicians who supported the government of the day. Ministers were also constitutionally drawn from Members of Parliament until the 2010 Constitution reversed this trend.

Land reforms

Several Principal Secretaries also retained their seats. They include Lands PS Nicholas Muraguri credited for spearheading land reforms and issuance of millions of title deeds. Title deeds was one of President Kenyatta’s strongest campaign tools. Others are Lilian Omollo, Andrew Kamau and Joseph Njoroge credited for spearheading reforms in the Petroleum and Energy sector respectively.

Yesterday’s announcement by President Kenyatta had been a highly guarded secret, with only speculation over names of possible appointments doing the rounds.

Indeed, the Presidential Press team was struggling to put into text what the President had said. The speech had not been printed in the usual manner.

The hand-written notes were never shared with the Presidential Press team. It took them more than two hours to put together the presidential speech as delivered, having had to transcribe it from Kenya Broadcasting Corporation footage.