SECTIONS
Since 1901

Uhuru, Kibaki headed Treasury, went ahead to become President

By  MOSES MICHIRA

Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta became the second Finance Minister after his predecessor Mwai Kibaki to ascend to the presidency, having served as close confidante of two Heads of State.

Uhuru, who is credited with formulation of Economic Stimulus Programme that helped the economy recover, crossed the floor in Parliament to become a trusted adviser to then President Mwai Kibaki months before the 2007 General Election.

It is widely believed that Uhuru was appointed to the powerful Finance Ministry in 2009 to replace the embattled Amos Kimunya as a generous reward from Kibaki for political support.

Kenya’s economy grew by 5.8 per cent in 2010, more than double the 2.7 per cent reported in 2009 partly due to the policies adopted by the Treasury.

As Finance Minister, Uhuru headed monetary and fiscal policy formulation that helped the President achieve his promises of job creation, increased investment in development and revenue allocation. Among the most outstanding measures announced by Uhuru as Finance Minister were elimination of duty on tractors and motorbikes, drastically reducing the cost of both machines to enhance farming, public transport and youth employment.

Uhuru also proposed the first social payments to the disadvantaged, who included the old.

Before his appointment to Treasury, Uhuru was Kibaki’s blue-eyed boy.

Upon formation of the Grand Coalition Government in 2008, Uhuru was named Deputy Prime Minister alongside ODM’s Musalia Mudavadi, suggesting his seniority within Kibaki’s coalition. The stimulus package he started was aimed at developing infrastructure and ease process of doing business. Uhuru, the Official Leader of Opposition in Parliament, shelved his ambitions to run for the presidency in 2007 and supported Kibaki.

Kibaki’s bid at the time was facing a major challenge from ODM.

Kibaki is the country’s longest serving Finance Minister to date, having been appointed in 1969 by founding President Jomo Kenyatta.

It is under his regime at the Treasury that the country recorded the fastest economic growth rates and stability in consumer pricing.