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Senior officers to coordinate national government officials’ movements- OP says

By Cyrus Ombati | April 22nd 2019

Deputy President William Ruto received at Muthua-ini African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa Church, in Tetu, Nyeri,on April 18,2019,by Archbishop Fredrick Wangombe and Samson Muthuuri. [Photo: Kibata Kihu/Standard]

Two senior officers at the Office of the President will coordinate movement of Government officials within the country.

This will address confusion that has been witnessed in some regions where State officers visited but there was no one to receive them.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said Mr William Thuku and Mr Moffat Kangi, who are based in his office, will coordinate the operations.

“Once the office is notified of a given itinerary of an official, the two will work with the regional and county commissioners to coordinate the necessary facilitation,” said Kibicho.

This also applies to the Presidency.

Regional security bosses have been instructed to take orders from the Interior ministry as far as such visits are concerned.

Shunned event

The order comes in the wake of incidents where Deputy President William Ruto goes to an event only to find no national government officials to receive him.

On Thursday, Ruto was shocked when he flew to Nyeri for a fundraiser only to find no official to welcome him.

National government officials did not turn up for the event at the African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) in Tetu, Nyeri County.

There are claims the officials avoided the event because they had not been cleared by Harambee House.

This exposed the DP and his team as a security incident was later detected near the venue when protesters started marching towards the church, shouting slogans denouncing the Ruto’s visit.

It took phone calls from Nairobi to mobilise plainclothes police officers to escort the DP from the chopper to the church.

He did not address roadside rallies as had earlier been planned because of security fears.

Officials at the Office of the President claim this is the culmination of many incidents where the DP’s handlers have refused to heed calls for them to channel Ruto’s itinerary to Kibicho’s office for coordination.

“This was a security scare. His people have refused to follow protocol which is for their own good. So what do we do? We can’t divide ourselves because we have plans also,” said a senior Government official.

Officials have revealed the DP and his advisers have ignored an earlier directive to ensure his movements are planned and coordinated from the Office of the President.

“As the deputy president, it was agreed his team should liaise with the PS for Interior, Karanja Kibicho, who would cascade the plans down to the chiefs for easy coordination,” said the official.

But the source said the DP’s team has disregarded the Office of the President’s protocol and decided to run a parallel team from his office. The DP’s team is headed by Abdull Mwasera. The team, according to officials, directly calls officials on the ground and issues instructions on where they will be and what they expect.

“We need order. Movement of government officials must be orderly and well-coordinated,” said the official.

The official said apart from the confusion witnessed, the DP has also established a parallel unit - Strategic Research Unit (SRU) in his office to run functions similar to those of Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) currently under President Kenyatta’s office.

PDU is based at Harambee House and under chief of staff Nzioka Waita while SRU is based at Harambee House Annex under Mr Ken Osinde.

“The two teams are competing. There is no coordination and this is wasting government resources,” said the official.

PDU was commissioned by President Kenyatta to monitor progress of Government projects in the country. Ruto launched SRU to do the same job.

Other sources said no national government official will attend events that are not planned according to the laid down procedures.

The sources said ignorance has twice exposed the DP.

They cited an incident in which the DP’s pilot got lost while flying from Baringo. The pilot had to make an emergency landing after realising he was running out of fuel after flying around for a while.

They said the DP, at one time, had to land in a thicket because of heavy rains and it was late in the night. He was flying from Eldoret to Nairobi.

“Order and coordination will address many dangers and that is what we are insisting on it,” said an official.

Last week, a similar situation played out in Njoro, Nakuru County, when no Government official accompanied the DP to an event where he opened a police station. He was only accompanied by politicians, among them Senator Susan Kihika.

Regional commissioner

On the Nyeri incident, Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga said he was not aware the DP was visiting. He said he was in Kiambu chairing a meeting when he received a text message from Mr Mwasera, telling him the DP was around.

Mr Nyagwanga said he had accompanied the President’s daughter, Ngina, to a tree-planting exercise when he heard the DP was around.

Police said even though they were aware of the visit, they had not been formally told what to do.

But an official at the DP’s office said they tried to call the officials but none picked their calls.

“That is not true. We tried to call them but they did not respond. This is the DP of Kenya,” said the official.

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