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Top public servants resign to join politics

POLITICS
By Standard Team | February 6th 2017
Kenya’s permanent representative to the United Nations Sam Ongeri. (Photo: Denish Ochieng/Standard)

Civil servants wishing to contest seats in the next elections have 48 hours to resign. The law demands that Government workers who intend to seek elective seats in the August 8 General Election must quit by Wednesday before launching their campaigns.

However, this comes in the wake of a ruling by the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kericho County that temporarily blocked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from disqualifying civil servants who not have resigned by February 7.

Among those set to resign are Kenya’s permanent representative to the United Nations Sam Ongeri, who will be seeking to supplant Kisii Senator Chris Obure.

Prof Ongeri, who has been Jubilee’s point man in Gusiiland, quit President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party and was said to have joined Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s CORD before the birth of the National Super Alliance that brings together all Opposition leaders.

Ongeri has since thrown his weight behind Kisii Governor James Ongwae. Mr Obure, who was elected on an ODM ticket, has already joined Jubilee party.

Ongeri and Obure will battle it out against the former chairman of the defunct Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) Charles Nyachae, who is also eyeing the seat on a Jubilee ticket.

Mr Nyachae has been appointed to lead Jubilee Party’s campaigns in Gusiiland and the whole of Nyanza region.

Former National Assembly Speaker and current Kenya Power chairman Kenneth Marende has also confirmed he will resign to contest the Nairobi governor's seat.

Former National Assembly Speaker and current Kenya Power chairman Kenneth Marende 

Mr Marende said he was inspired by a desire to change Nairobi.

“I have a transformative mind and want to reclaim the capital city’s lost glory. If you look around Nairobi now, there is dirt all over. This is bad for our health,” Marende said.

Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa will also leave his plum job to fight for a Jubilee ticket for the Nairobi’s governor's seat.

Mr Wamalwa will battle it out with Jubilee's Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko, Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru and former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru. The incumbent, ODM’s Evans Kidero, will be seeking to reclaim his seat.

Former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, who also served as Gatanga MP, has also declared an interest in the Nairobi governor’s seat alongside Nominated MP and former The National Alliance (TNA) party chairman Johnson Sakaja.

President Uhuru Kenyatta will also lose his two advisors after they declared their intentions to run for political office.

Kilemi Mwiria, the President's advisor of education, is eyeing the Meru governor’s seat while political advisor Joshua Kuttuny is hoping to capture the Cherangany parliamentary seat.

Dr Mwiria ditched the President’s party last week and joined Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap (MCC) party.

Mr Kuttuny will fight for a Jubilee’s ticket against current MP Wesley Korir.

In Nakuru County, John Mututho, chairman of the Transport Licensing Appeals Board, will quit to compete against Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua.

And National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation chairman Julius Kones will battle it out with Governor Isaac Ruto in Bomet County.

Simon Chelugui, who is a member of the Betting and Licensing Board, is looking to unseat Governor Benjamin Cheboi in Baringo while former Bumula MP Wakoli Bifwoli has said he will quit his job as Agricultural Development Corporation chairman to vie against Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka.

Meanwhile, former powerful Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia has his eye on the Nyandarua governor's seat.

In Nyeri County, Government employees seeking political office are yet to resign as they await a court decision on whether they can remain in office.

Those who will be attempting to return to politics in Murang’a County include national CDF board chairman Elias Mbau, who is eyeing the Maragua parliamentary seat.

COUNTY GOVERNMENT

In Embu, county government officials and teachers have also resigned to run for various elective posts.

Elsewhere, three top public servants are among dozens of aspirants eyeing elective posts in Isiolo and Marsabit counties.

They include Tana-Athi Rivers Development Authority chairman Abdul Bahari and Rehema Dida, the chairman of Kenya Industrial Estates. She is the widow of former Moyale MP Guracha Galgalo.

Quantity surveyor and businessman Muhamud Ali is also set to quit his position as chairman of the National Hospital Insurance Fund to run for the Marsabit governor's seat.

At the coast, Kenya’s High Commissioner to Tanzania, Chirau Ali Mwakwere, has declared an interest in the Kwale governorship currently held by Salim Mvurya, who has since left ODM for Jubilee.

In Taita Taveta, two county executives are among a host of public servants who have relinquished their positions to join politics.

In Kakamega, four county officials have gone on leave ahead of resigning. And in Busia County, Azida Ali, the county executive in the officer of Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, has resigned to embark on campaigns for the Woman Representative seat. Several other officials are expected to resign soon.

In Kisumu, County Secretary Humphrey Nakitare has resigned and is hoping to unseat Mr Ojaamong in Busia.

Several other county executives are expected to quit in Siaya County.

The former chairman of the Commission on Administrative Justice, Otiende Amollo, is eyeing the Rarieda parliamentary seat currently held by Nicholas Gumbo of ODM. The incumbent has declared an interest in the Siaya governorship.

In Migori, Woman Representative aspirant Pamela Odhiambo, who is also a lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), is set to quit her job, as is Tom Odege, the secretary general of the Union of Kenya Civil Servants. He is looking to unseat Nyatike MP Edick Anyang.

Three county executives in Migori County have also declared their interest in various elective posts.

And in Kisii, a source in the county administration office said more than 40 workers had resigned to beat the February 7 deadline set by IEBC.

Meanwhile, a crisis is looming in counties in Central and South Rift regions, as more than 100 senior officers plan to resign ahead of the elections.

Most of those set to resign are county executive committee members, chief officers, departmental directors and commissioners of county public service boards in Nakuru, Narok, Bomet, Baringo, Samburu and the neighbouring Laikipia counties.

Nakury County Assembly Speaker Susan Kihika, who has already kicked off her campaigns for the senatorial seat, is expected to leave office soon.

“I’m going for the Senate seat and I will soon officially launch my campaign after resigning from my position as the Speaker of the County Assembly,” she told The Standard yesterday.

In Narok North constituency, County Water Director Agnes Pareiyo and Agriculture Executive Nelson Keshei are both eyeing the seat currently held by Moitalel ole Kenta.

In Nyandarua County, Communication and ICT Chief Officer Wilfred Kigwa resigned last month. He is eyeing the Kaimbaga MCA’s seat.

PRIVATE SECTOR

Elsewhere in Machakos and Makueni counties, parliamentary and Senate seats have attracted a host of aspirants who have been serving in both private and public sectors.

And elders in Rift Valley have warned civil servants against leaving their jobs to join politics, arguing that this would create a joblessness crisis for those who did not succeed.

The warning came as the two main antagonists, Jubilee and the newly-formed NASA, upped their campaigns ahead of the elections.

The two alliances have been traversing their perceived strongholds to urge local residents to register as voters.

At the start of voter registration, IEBC announced they were hoping to register at least 6.1 million of the more than nine million eligible voters across the country.

However, the ongoing voter listing has been marred by claims that the Government has hatched a plot to rig the elections by, among other things, registering foreigners as voters, accusations Jubilee has denied.

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