Big exodus as ministers quit to seek elective seats


Devolution Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter addresses the media when he resigned at his offices at the Treasury, Nairobi on February 8, 2022 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Three Cabinet Secretaries and five Chief Administrative Secretaries (CASs) yesterday resigned from government to seek elective seats in the upcoming August 9 General Election.

Devolution's Charles Keter, John Munyes (Mining and Petroleum) and Adan Mohamed (East African Community and Regional Development) yesterday resigned to beat the deadline given by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua last week.

“I have today tendered my resignation to President Uhuru Kenyatta to focus my energy on contesting for the seat of governor of Kericho County in the August 9, 2022 elections. I have the vision, the commitment and will pursue a development agenda that will grow the economy of the county,” said Keter.

The CS announced that he would be vying under Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party. However, Keter said he was not being endorsed and that he was ready to face his competitors in the governor’s race.

“I believe in competition and I am ready for the contest under the leadership of the deputy president as the party leader,” he said.

“I wish to sincerely thank the President for according me an opportunity to serve in his Cabinet since 2015 when he nominated me to join his government,” he said.

Previously, Keter served as MP for Belgut Constituency in Kericho after being elected in 2007. In a circular dated January 28th to all ministries and the Council of Governors, Mr Kinyua directed that State and public officers eyeing elective seats in the August 9 elections must resign by yesterday, at least six months before the date of a General Election.

Among the CASs who quit include Ken Obura, Noor Hassan and Gideon Mungáro, who are also running for the governors' seats in Kisumu, Mandera and Kilifi respectively. It is not clear if there will be more CSs and CASs expected to resign today after the deadline of Kinyua's circular.

Kinyua's circular was sent to the Attorney-General, Cabinet Secretaries, Chief Administrative Secretaries, chairpersons of Constitutional Commissions, Principal Secretaries, chief executive officers of constitutional commissions, and chief executive officers of state corporations and agencies. The letter was also copied to Council of Governors chairman Martin Wambora, Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi and Clerk of the Senate Jeremiah Nyegenye.

Kinyua directed that the handover notes should lay emphasis on work plans in progress and the status of priority national development programmes. Some of the CASs who resigned earlier include Wavinya Ndeti, who called it quits at the Transport ministry to prepare for the challenge for Machakos governor's seat and Tourism CAS Joseph Boinnet who will vie for Elgeyo Marakwet governor.

Mohamed yesterday said he was going to make a debut into politics by gunning for the Mandera seat, currently held by Ali Roba who has served his maximum two terms. Former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya, who is running for Trans Nzoia governor's seat on a DAP-K ticket was the first to resign two weeks ago. Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee chairman Alfred Khang’ati has also resigned to vie for Kanduyi MP seat.

Head of Presidential Delivery Unit Nzioka Waita and senior director at PDU Patrick Ngatia, who is eyeing Nyeri Town constituency seat currently held by Ngunjiri Wambugu, have also joined the campaign trail. Other CASs who have resigned are Simon Kachapin (Sports), Stephen ole Ntutu (Labour), Chris Obure (Transport and Infrastructure Development), ??John Mosonik (Petroleum and Mining) and Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Beatrice Elachi.

Kachapin is seeking to dislodge West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo, Ntutu will seek Narok governorship, while Mung'aro is eyeing the Kilifi county boss position. Obure and Mosonik are targeting governorship in Kisii and Bomet respectively while Ms Elachi is seeking Dagoretti North parliamentary seat. Elsewhere, at the Nairobi county government, county executive officers and chief officers have begun resigning to vie for political seats.

Devolution and sub-county administration Chief Officer Mohamed Abdi Abdirahaman yesterday led the pack in tendering in his resignation. Abdi who has served in various dockets at City Hall since his appointment on May 22, 2018, on Monday became the first county government official to tender in his resignation to governor Ann Kananu.

“Currently, I am the County Chief Officer Devolution and Sub County Administration and Acting County Chief Officer Water, Energy and Sanitation. I have decided to pursue a career in politics whereby I am vying for Member of Parliament for Lafey Constituency,” his letter read.

“I remain grateful to Nairobi County Government for having given me the opportunity to serve Nairobians,” he added.

Out of a ten-member cabinet, five CECs are expected to resign, as well as one chief officer. Next on the resignation list is expected to be Education, Youth and Sports executive Janet Ouko Muthoni who is seeking the Kasarani parliamentary seat held by Mercy Gakuya.

Jacob Ngetich Josphat Thiongo and Jacinta Mutura