Pending reshuffle causes jitters

Keen to secure his legacy, President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta is likely to rely on experienced technocrats he had little time for during his first term, State House insiders intimated to The Nairobian.

His first term was prone to goofs pegged on handlers blamed for dishing out wrong advice, while creating the impression that all was well.

It is instructive to note that after the Supreme Court overturned his August 8 election victory, Uhuru embarked on a charm offensive, meeting delegations of leaders from all corners of the country.

The one at the Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri County drew about 5,000 leaders   from Nakuru, Laikipia, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Meru.

The agenda was Uhuru re-election in the re-run ordered by the Supreme Court, but some took the opportunity to expose his handlers as stumbling blocks. They proposed that Uhuru should recall experienced aides from the Mwai Kibaki administration.

The names of Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, former Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua and Kibaki’s private secretary Prof Nick Wanjohi popped up. It was finally agreed that Kimemia and Kinuthia have a significant roles in Uhuru’s re-election bid.

That was how Kinuthia was lifted from near oblivion to the centre of power with Kimemia as adviser-at-large on governance.

“It was a heated debate, especially for politicians who lost during party nominations. They insisted that Kimemia was a temporary safe pair of hands in helping Uhuru steady the ship,” said a source who attended the meeting.

The leaders were concerned that Uhuru had left his deputy, William Ruto, to run the show.

Jomo Gecaga, Uhuru’s personal assistant and a close ally of Ruto, has since seen his powers clipped with Kinuthia having taken over his position. It is also instructive that after Kinuthia lost the Jubilee nomination for Governor, he was prevailed upon not to run for the seat as an independent in favour of eventual winner Lee Kinyanjui in hope of better tidings once Uhuru is re-elected. Taking over Jomo’s job is widely seen as the trade-off for not running.

The return of Kimemia and Kinuthia is being watched against the backdrop of lobbying at State House where some fear for their jobs as Uhuru plans to re-organise his new government with intentions of giving it a national outlook.

There is also the looming retirement of State House Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua with Dr Karanja Kibicho, the PS in the Ministry of Interior said to be a front runner in the race to replace him.

Among top honchos whose jobs are hanging in the balance include Jomo Gecaga, State House Comptroller Lawrence Lanayapa and Digital Director Dennis Itumbi. Also jittery is Solicitor General Njee Muturi, DCI chief Ndegwa Muhoro and Attorney General Githu Muigai. The only top State House operatives not worried about their jobs are Manoah Esipisu, the Secretary Communications and State House Spokesman,  George Kariuki, the Deputy State House Comptroller, Nzioka Waita, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Deputy Head of the Public Service and Abdikadir Mohamed who is Uhuru’s Senior Adviser, Constitutional and Legal Affairs.

Kinuthia and Kimemia understand “the mechanics of government” owing to their long careers as civil servants with Kinuthia having served as a district officer in Marakwet and later in Molo, Nakuru County before joining the disciplined forces rising to be chief instructor at the Administration Police Training College and later  Commandant of the Administration Police before joining politics.  

Kimemia and Kinuthia were at a function as Uhuru received his re-election certificate from IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati at Bomas of Kenya.

The two held a fundraiser at the Parklands Sports Clubs towards education of the children of Kimemia’s late brother, Rev Samuel Wachira Kimemia of the Reformed Catholic Church who died in a road accident in Gilgil.

“Although President Kenyatta won the election, we can’t underrate Raila,” said Kimemia at the function that raised Sh4 million and where succession politics was discussed in hushed tones. “He is a Kenyan leader with a big following and time has now reached for the President-elect and Nasa leader to meet and  talk  so that our beloved country can move on and stop heading to the route of disintegration,” Kimemia told attendees including Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya, NdaraguaMP Jeremiah Kioni, Nyandarua Senator Mwangi Githiomi and investment banker  Jimnah Mbaru.