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Unease as President Uhuru Kenyatta offloads Kibaki allies

POLITICS
By BY JAMES MUNYEKI | July 13th 2013

BY JAMES MUNYEKI

Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has started offloading some top civil servants who were calling the shots during Mwai Kibaki’s rule.

In just four months the ground has shifted radically for a number of Kibaki loyalists who have been replaced with newcomers.

The purge has also affected technocrats associated with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The biggest casualties are permanent secretaries whose titles have changed to principal secretaries, although their key role remains that of accounting officers in ministries.

A close scrutiny of the reorganisation shows the Mt Kenya region has been the greatest casualty.

Recently, President Kenyatta unveiled a fresh team of principal secretaries.

Only three PSs from the region — Mutea Iringo, Dr Karanja Kibicho and Prof Micheni Ntiba — were retained. There are also indications that former Treasury PS Joseph Kinyua has relocated to State House as President Kenyatta’s financial adviser.

Those who fell by the wayside are; Thuita Mwangi, Prof Karega Mutahi, Patrick Nyoike, Romano Kiome, Cyrus Njiru and Mary Ngari.

Others who were not considered are former Solicitor General Wanjuki Muchemi and Kibaki’s personal assistant, Prof Nick Wanjohi.

Names of prominent persons who have served as permanent secretaries in previous governments were expected to feature.

While some former PSs who applied for the jobs as demanded by the new Constitution were not shortlisted, others decided not to apply while others opted to retire.

A feature of the new-look line-up is the number of fresh faces.

But as has always been the case in his appointments, the president sought to do away with the past and instead retained only three names in the list. He sought to have fresh names that have not featured in the public before.

 The exceptions are Mr Iringo, who served as Internal Security Permanent Secretary after taking over from Francis Kimemia, who is now the Secretary to the Cabinet.

Veterans

Mr Iringo is a veteran civil servant who hails from Meru.

Engineer Michael Kamau, from Nyeri County, was also retained having served as a Permanent Secretary in the Transport docket.

Also featuring in the new team is the former Industrialisation PS, Karanja Kibicho from Kirinyaga County.

The apparent purge shocked many powerful people in the Kibaki government who expected to be retained as principal secretaries owing to their experience.

It came as a shocker to powerful people in the Kibaki government who expected that they would be retained as principal secretaries due to their experience in governance.

It was disapponting for the people of Othaya, Nyeri when a top professional from the area did not feature among the cabinet secretaries.

Joseph Kinyua, an expert in finance, was the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.

During the Kibaki era he was considered one of the best finance managers.

Property deal

Prior to his appointment as PS, he was the chief economist at Central Bank of Kenya.

He began his career as an Assistant Lecturer at Nairobi University in 1978 and joined the Central Bank in 1980. He also worked as an economist with IMF.

Financial experts have expressed optimism that Kinyua will be highly sought for by financial institutions for advice.

“This is a man who cannot lack a job. His CV speaks for itself and he is an experienced man. He will probably feature in international or national financial institutions,” says Geita Wanjau, an accountant.

Another powerful individual in the Kibaki government is Thuita Mwangi.

Though he has been adversely named in a property deal in Japan when he was with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was thought his closeness to President Kenyatta and former President Kibaki would help him to remain in government.

He worked as Director of Political Affairs in the same ministry and Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Human Rights Committee.

According to his close associates who sought anonymity, Thuita has sought to engage in business as he awaits any future appointment.

“He is a very experienced and well traveled man. In the meantime, he has sought to keep a low profile and engage in private business. The current government cannot wish such a resourceful man away,” he said.

It also came as shocker for educationist Karega Mutahi, who served in Local Government and Education dockets.

The Professor is among the most learned people in the region.

He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics from the University of Nairobi, a Master of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Linguistics.

Also shown the door is former Energy PS, Patrick Nyoike and Transport PS Cyrus Njiru.

Nyoike is a graduate of Mathematics from the University of Ghana and holds Bachelor of Economics from the University of Nairobi.

Agriculturalist Romano Kiome, who was PS in the Ministry of Agriculture, was also not given a second chance.

He had worked in various government departments including Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. There are indications that he is headed back there.

He has been instrumental in research and coordinating donor activities at the National Agricultural Programme.

It is not clear where Dr Njiru, highly educated person is headed.

Dr Njiru trained as a civil engineer in Kenya, Japan, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Former Solicitor General, Wanjuki Muchemi has opted to retire.

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