Those who fell by the wayside amid storms in Uhuru Cabinet

President Uhuru Kenyatta chairs a Cabinet Meeting at State House, Nairobi. [PSCU]

They fell one after the other. It started with corruption allegations.

In March 2015, barely two years after President Uhuru Kenyatta took office and appointed his Cabinet of technocrats, he tabled in Parliament a list of suspected corrupt public servants that included five Cabinet Secretaries.

They included Agriculture CS Felix Koskei, Charity Ngilu (Lands), Michael Kamau (Transport), Davis Chirchir (Energy) and Kazungu Kambi (Labour). He suspended them as investigations into their alleged role in various scandals was being conducted.

There were also allegations against the Devolution and Planning CS Anne Waiguru. Those who were charged in court were Ngilu and Kamau. While Mr Koskei (Agriculture), Mr Kambi (Labour) and Davies Chirchir (Energy) were cleared.

Kosgey implemented Public, Private Partnerships before he was nominated, while Chirchir was a former commissioner with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Waiguru was an employee at the Treasury

Ngilu had vied for Kitui Senatorial and lost while Kamau was a veteran of government who had been a Permanent Secretary since 2007 and a civil servant from 1981.

Before the year was over, they were all gone.

In November, Waiguru, who was facing pressure to resign her post over a Sh791 million corruption scandal at the National Youth Service (NYS), handed in her letter. She cited concerns about her health, opting for lighter duties. 

A few days later, Uhuru axed the CSs who were suspended for corruption.

Their dismissal gave way for the appointment of Kericho Senator Charles Keter and Malindi MP Dan Kazungu as Energy and Mining Cabinet Secretaries, respectively.

Former MP Mwangi Kiunjuri was named Devolution and Planning CS. Agriculture PS Sicily Kariuki was also promoted to newly-created Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs ministry.

The CEO of Nairobi Hospital Cleopa Mailu (Health), Kenya Seed Managing Director Willy Bett (Agriculture) and Joe Mucheru (ICT). Before his appointment, Mucheru served as Google’s Regional Lead for in Sub Saharan Africa and Country Manager for Kenya.

Uhuru’s Cabinet has been a revolving door of personalities over the decade he has been in office. As the days progressed, Uhuru seemed to abandon the idea of picking technocrats and instead resorted to the tested politicians.

Kiunjuri served in the devolution docket before he was moved to Agriculture in 2018, where he would see his last days in office.

The removal of Kiunjuri from the Cabinet was apparent. In his last days in office, Kiunjuri carried himself like a defeated person after facing public humiliation.

President Uhuru publicly complained about him and the way he handled tasks such as settling payments owed to maize farmers.

But even before the corruption accusations saw almost half of the Cabinet leave there was Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku.

Lenku, who is now the Kajiado governor was barely in office 20 months before he was shown the door and replaced with Kajiado Central MP Major General (Rtd) Joseph Nkaissery.

Under Lenku, Kenya experienced some of the worst incidents of insecurity such as Westgate attacks and the killings of quarry workers in Mandera and the Kapedo incident where some 19 police officers were killed.

If there was no sign that Lenku was out of his depth, it became apparent in the manner he handled Westgate and the aftermath.

After the attack, it came to light that the ministry had ignored intelligence reports that suggested there could be an attack.

The year 2018 came with Sports and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, who became an instant parody during his vetting after legislators questioned the extent to which he was educated.

There were suggestions that he never really cleared school. Echesa’s could easily be the shortest tenure. He was sacked on March 1, 2019.

Echesa was a ODM’s Youth League leader before he supported Deputy President William Ruto during 2017 General Election.

In 2020, Echesa was charged with forgery in a case involving an alleged Sh39 billion fraudulent arms deal. Echesa was appointed to the sports docket to take over from Hassan Wario who had, at that point, been named as an ambassador.

At the time, Wario had been mentioned as being involved in the misappropriation of funds at the sports ministry.

He was accused of taking advantage of his office to add three people to the list of Team Kenya delegation and had them paid allowances.

In September 2021 last year, the court found that he was guilty of abuse of office, and causing the loss of public funds during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro He sentenced to a six-year jail term or pay a fine of Sh3.6 million over his involvement.