|President Uhuru Kenyatta with his Deputy William Ruto|
By KIBIWOTT KOROSS
The home regions of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto have been rewarded with more than half of all senior appointments, a survey by The Standard on Saturday has revealed.
Mt Kenya and Rift Valley regions hold a combined 57.5 per cent of the 87 appointments made by the nine-month-old Jubilee administration.
Each has 25 appointments, which translates to 28.7 per cent each, while Nyanza follows with 10 which at 11.5 per cent.
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The appointments, which began soon after Kenyatta and Ruto took office, saw the Coast region bag nine slots (10.5 per cent) while Eastern and North Eastern had six each (6.9 per cent).
Terry Ryan from Nairobi was appointed the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Kenyatta and Ruto have come under repeated attacks for sidelining some regions from public appointments, most recently their choice of state corporation chairpersons.
But there has also been pointed criticism of the alleged failure to strike a gender balance, to reward the youth and recognise special interest groups – all requirements under the Constitution.
Ruto has also had to fight off a spirited wave of criticism in his Rift Valley stronghold that he was not getting his URP’s share of public positions agreed under the 50-50 pre-election power-sharing pact with Kenyatta’s TNA.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission reminded the two principals in an interview yesterday not to overlook other parts of the country in the appointments, saying it was against Article 10 (b) of the constitution which envisages equality, equity, non-discrimination, inclusiveness and protection of the marginalised.
Commission CEO Hassan Mohammed said although they had not done an analysis on the appointments, they should be nationally representative.
He, however, said it was too early to conclude that the appointments were lopsided because, in his view, they represented only a fraction of the whole.
But sources at the commission said a protest letter to be addressed to the president has been prepared following the appointments.
“I know there is a protest letter and a notice that is supposed to run in the papers expressing fears by the commission that the appointments could generate public unrest in some parts of the country,” said the source who sought anonymity.
Asked if he thought the appointments represented the face of the country, Mohammed said his office is yet to take an analysis of the appointments because President Kenyatta has said more are coming.
“We are yet to analyse the appointments. We have to wait until when the whole process is over so that we can look at the lists in totality. But the two principals should stick to the constitution on all public appointments,” he said.
The appointments have not been received well by a section of Kenyans, with some pointing out that the government is dominated by two regions.
Some URP MPs have also claimed that they had been short-changed by TNA, giving the Deputy President sleepless nights as he tries to contain the outcry.
Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, who has been leading an onslaught against Ruto in Rift Valley, claimed that the party had been short-changed by TNA. “The appointments have been skewed against the 50-50 power sharing basis agreed upon earlier,” said the legislator.
But in dismissing the claims, Ruto has asked Rift Valley residents to give him time, saying there are more appointments on the way.
President Kenyatta told critics that he had not even made half of the appointments with more than 100 left, while Ruto asked the Kalenjin community to be patient with the current government appointments and told off those questioning them, terming them “petty”.
But nine months into a five-year tenure, Kenyatta and Ruto’s top allies have been rewarded in the appointments that also saw his competitor in the 2013 presidential election, Mohamed Abduba Dida, tapped for a job.
Dida, who came fifth in the race, was appointed chairman of the Constituency Development Fund Board (CDF) to replace Jennifer Nafula Barasa.
But he will have to wait a while longer for Parliament to approve his nomination.
The appointments will see the replacement of public officials named by the coalition government of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, which the Jubilee government replaced last year.
The corporation chairman’s position is not a full-time job – its holder is not paid any salary but sitting allowances. They draw Sh20,000 per sitting with a requirement that a board should not meet more than three times in one quarter.
But chairpersons act as the direct link between the firm and the government and can exert their political influence to steer policy or decisions in a certain direction — not to mention the award of lucrative contracts.
Of the 42 parastatal heads named by the President, 13 representing come from Mount Kenya region (30 per cent); Rift Valley has 10 appointees (23.8 per cent); Coast and Nyanza follow with five appointments each (14.3 per cent).
However, most of the appointments from Nyanza were from the Kisii community whose Gershom Otachi was appointed new chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Policyholders’ Compensation Fund.
Otachi is a member of President Kenyatta’s defence team at the International Criminal Court.
TNA Secretary General Onyango Oloo is the new Lake Basin Development Authority chair while Edwin Yinda, a former Youth for Kanu (YK92) officail and former Alego Usonga MP was picked as the chairman of Kenya Information and Communication.