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Matiang’i, the punching bag of Uhuru’s BBI critics

By Standard Team | December 2nd 2019 at 00:15:00 GMT +0300

Deputy President William Ruto during an empowerment programme of the Lari Constituency Development Fund beneficiaries in Kiambu County. [Courtesy DPPS]

Allies of Deputy President William Ruto have hit out at Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i over remarks that he is only answerable to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Speaking at a fundraiser in Kirinyaga County last Friday, Dr Matiang'i told politicians criticising his style of leadership that he was only accountable to the president. His remarks now appear to have rubbed Ruto's allies the wrong way.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago yesterday told the CS to stop undermining the DP. The two spoke during a fundraiser for churches in Nyalilbei,Uasin Gishu County.

Murkomen said Matiang’i had become unpopular due to his abrasive leadership style and should cease disrespecting the deputy president. The senator challenged the CS to join politics and contest for an elective position to gauge his popularity.

“I want to challenge Matiang’i that we go to your village in Nyamira (County) and we run for the position of MCA with you and see if you will beat me. We want to tell these ministers that leading a country is not a joke,” Murkomen said.

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The two leaders said they back a proposal by the Building Bridges Initiative to have ministers appointed from among MPs.

“I defended you (Matiang’i) during the Ruaraka land saga. If you doubt, go and check the Hansard,” said Murkomen.

He was referring to the Ruaraka land saga where Matiang'i who was then Education CS is mentioned as having given some approval in the acquisition of what is alleged to be public land for the building of Ruaraka Secondary School and Drive Inn Primary School.

Dr Matiang'i is, however, not under investigations by any government agency on the same.

Murkomen added: “We can’t allow technocrats who have never been elected by anyone to give us lectures.”

Mandago said the Interior CS should stop intimidating elected leaders and sidelining other leaders in government. He did not give any specifics on leaders that have allegedly been intimidated by the CS, but said his remarks were aimed at dividing the government into factions. He asked President Kenyatta to restore order in his administration.

Impartial civil servants

“I urge Uhuru not to allow public servants to be partisan and divide the Government. Public servants should serve the country impartially,” Mandago said.

He continued: “You (Matiang’i) are in office courtesy of those who voted for leaders for this government.”

Soy MP Caleb Kositany said Jubilee MPs will ensure elected lawmakers are appointed ministers from 2022 going forward.

“We shall not be intimidated. We shall serve the people under the president and his deputy because they were elected as one and we demand that public servants do the same,” said Mr Kositany.

Speaking in Magina village, Lari, Kiambu County, the deputy president said civil servants who have been given jobs by President Kenyatta should not go round "chest-thumping and displaying arrogance".

Ruto, who did not mention the CS by name said the Government was elected by the common man, who deserves to be respected.

"Don't look at these people as if they are fools because you are in high office. Those who gave you that office are mama mbogas and boda boda riders," the DP said moments after his allies led by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wa made direct attacks on Matiang'i referring to him by name.

The clash between the CS and the DP's allies has intensified in recent days after the politicians accused the technocrat of engaging in succession politics. On Friday, Matiang’i defended himself and his Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho against claims they were taking sides in the succession politics.

The CS spoke in Kirinyaga during a funds drive for bursaries hosted by Dr Kibicho at Gathuthuini Secondary School. He said he only takes orders from Uhuru and claims that he and Kibicho were using their positions in government to frustrate politicians were unwarranted.

“We are public servants appointed by the president and everything that we do is a directive from the master,” he said.

“We only have one point of command in this country, and that is the president. Have you ever heard of a house with two masters? We are working for Uhuru and whatever he tells us to do with Kibicho, we will always do,” added the CS.

 [Report by Stephen Rutto, Fidelis Kabunyi, Jacinta Mutura, Stanley Ongwae]

William Ruto BBI Elections 2022 Fred Matiang’i
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