Three assistant ministers allied to ODM could be fired in the expected Cabinet reshuffle aimed at filling vacant ministerial and Permanent Secretaries’ positions.
The changes are part of a wider plot that could also see former Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura officially retired.
Muthaura stepped aside last year after the International Criminals’ Court (ICC) confirmed charges against him.
Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia who took over from Muthaura in an acting capacity is set to be confirmed as Head of Public Service.
Acting Permanent Secretaries Mutea Iringo (Internal Security), Gichira Kibaara (Justice), and Prof George Godia (Education) will also be confirmed.
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A reliable source at Cabinet office has indicated that the President could also sack some PSs reported by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) as engaging in political campaigns.
“There are increasing concerns that some of these people are soiling the good name of the Government. Civil servants can’t be politicians so they will be pushed out,” said a government insider.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga is particularly under pressure from his ODM brigade to get rid of assistant ministers George Khaniri (Information and Communication), Manyala Keya (Gender), and William Cheptumo (Justice).
Mr Khaniri and Mr Keya have crossed over to the United Democratic Front (UDF) with Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi. Cheptumo who has survived three other reshuffles has joined Eldoret North MP William Ruto’s United Republican Party.
Sources at the PM’s office revealed that there is consensus on the sacking of the ministers. Kibaki and Raila who have the powers to act travelled, but are expected to hold talks on the matter on return.
ODM has seven portfolios to fill in the anticipated Cabinet reshuffle, including two ministerial dockets; assistant minister Internal Security left vacant following the death of former Ndhiwa MP Orwa Ojode in a helicopter crash and the resignation of Public Health Minister James Gesami, who is facing corruption charges.
The other vacancies occurred following the resignation of Mudavadi as Local Government minister, and Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey, who is also facing corruption charges.
Gwassi MP John Mbadi admitted ODM members have demanded that the PM should kick out persons holding positions courtesy of the party but pay allegiances to other parties.
“Our position is that individuals who do not subscribe to the ideals of our party have no business holding positions belonging to ODM.That is why those who have moved to URP and UDF have no business flying flags given in honour of our party,”Mbadi said.
But those in Mudavadi’s camp are warning that voters would punish MPs from Western province who will be tempted to pick up vacancies caused by the sackings of Keya and Khaniri.
“We are aware of the plans to fire Khaniri and Keya but this two gentlemen are serving Kenyans not an individual. The PM should stop overreacting and allow them to work. But if they are sacked anybody from Western who replaces them will face the wrath of the people,” said Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito.
Surprisingly in Raila’s camp, talk is ripe that the PM is keen to hold talks with Belgut MP Charles Keter with a view to discussing a possible working relationship, which could also lead to his appointment as Industrialisation minister.
Assistant Minister Magerer Lang’at, an influential member of the PM’s campaign, is said to have been delegated to initiate talks with Mr Keter, who was fired two years ago as an assistant minister.
When The Standard On Sunday reached the MP for comment on the matter he said he was yet to be contacted by any Government official on the same.
“Let us wait and see if they will talk to me or even if they will go ahead and appoint me. But as for now they are yet to tell me anything just rumours,”Keter said.
The PM is seeking a strong link in the South Rift to strengthen the support already accorded by Roads Minister Frankline Bett and Magerer.
Raila’s group hopes to benefit from the rejection of the nomination of former councillor Ronald Ng’eny to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) said to have been masterminded by Ruto.
Chepalungu MP Isaac Rutto maintained that MPs who had left ODM for URP would not return to the PM’s party.
“If they want to give us Cabinet positions it will be ok. In fact even if they want to give me the one left by Mudavadi (Local Government) I will take it and drive reforms as I drive URP,” Rutto said.
In PNU Kibaki is also expected to make a few changes to replace late Internal Security Minister George Saitoti who died in a helicopter crash two weeks ago.