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Panic in Uhuru Kenyatta's Cabinet over looming reshuffle

POLITICS
By Jacob Ngetich | August 31st 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta meets with political party leaders to discuss Covid-19 containment measures at State House, Mombasa. [Courtesy]

Anxiety has gripped President Uhuru Kenyatta’s inner circle after it emerged that he is in the process of reorganising his government to accommodate allies of Opposition leaders.

Insiders aware of the happenings told The Standard that the Head of State could unveil the new team soon.

Uhuru is expected to sack some of his lieutenants who are publicly engaging in politics and are allied to Deputy President William Ruto.

Details shared by insiders within the presidency indicate that Uhuru could let go of six Cabinet Secretaries, a number of Chief Administrative Officers and Principal Secretaries as he enters the home stretch of his tenure.

According to insiders the Cabinet reshuffle coming less than a year to the General Election seeks to give President Kenyatta a grip on his government.

"The president is in his final lap. He wants to have a firm grip on his government and also rally the Opposition to work together. The changes when effected are geared towards ensuring his legacy projects are not interrupted by political interest," said a source close to the presidency.

He added: "There could be some surprise names, but it's all for the unity and good of the country. It will be very soon."

The President will incorporate into government appointees allied to the opposition leaders as he seeks to ensure they unite ahead of next year's elections.

This month alone, Uhuru has hosted ODM leader Raila Odinga, Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula twice at State House Mombasa where succession politics dominated the talks.

The President is expected to sack some CSs and move others to different ministries.

Last year during a virtual Cabinet meeting, following speculation over a reshuffle, Uhuru assured that there would be no shake-up and asked them to do their work diligently.

Causalities of the Cabinet reshuffle are likely to be CSs, PSs and CASs come from pastoralist communities, Western, Rift Valley and the Coast.

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo recently urged the president to reshuffle the Cabinet to get rid of those engaged in early campaigns.

"I want to appeal to President Kenyatta to reconstitute his Cabinet by dropping UDA sympathisers and replacing them with ODM loyalists. I am highly convinced that there are men and women from ODM party who can occupy key positions held by UDA sympathisers in government and propel the country to greater heights without confusion," said Odhiambo.

State officers who are interested in elective positions are expected to quit by February 9, six months before the election according to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) timelines released a month ago.

About 11 CSs are interested in governorship positions and if they will survive the purge, they will have to resign in five months time to be eligible to vie in the elections.

In an interview with The Standard, a CS who sought anonymity said that he was ready for any eventuality given that he was going to exit by February to seek an elective post.

"When that time comes, I will thank the president for according me the opportunity to serve in his government and bow out, it is always such a privilege to serve as CS knowing that there are thousands of people who can do the same work competently," said the CS.

Some of the opposition leaders who met Uhuru in Mombasa were asked to present names of their allies for government agencies to vet them before the appointment.

Normally before one is appointed, their names are given to the National Intelligence Service to do due diligence. 

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