President William Ruto has placed appointees of his predecessor - Uhuru Kenyatta - on chopping boards, with more set to be relieved of their duties in the near future.
The next leg of Ruto's appointments could see him select ambassadors and high commissioners to Kenyan missions abroad. Such positions have in many instances been used as a soft landing for loyalists who missed out on other government positions.
Ruto has revocked several appointments made by Uhuru, even those as recent as July 2022. All eyes are now on the appointment of foreign envoys. also affected were heads of parastatal boards who have recently been replaced.
Kenya Ambassador to China Mary Gichohi was the first to be recalled less than a year after her posting. Wu Peng, the director-general Department of African Affairs in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced Gichohi’s departure Monday.
Those whose careers could be hanging by a thread are some envoys Uhuru appointed in April last year, many of whom were Uhuru’s political allies. They include Kenya’s ambassador to Belgium Bitange Ndemo, who was recently pushed out of Safaricom’s board where he was an independent director.
Others appointed in 2022 include former National Assembly clerk Michael Sialai (Namibia), Salim Salim(Djibouti), Boniface Mwilu (Qatar), Gathoga Chege (Cuba), Mary Mogwanja (Austria), Paul Ndung’u (Mozambique), Nyambura Kamau (Pakistan), Major Gen (Rtd) Thomas Cheptuko (Somalia), Isaac Njenga (Tanzania) and Major Gen (Rtd) George Owino (Uganda).
Many of Ruto’s allies who missed out on appointments as Cabinet and Principal Secretaries are already clutching at straws, hoping to land chief administrative secretary (CAS) jobs. But the limited CAS slots could mean that some of them would shift their ambitions to ambassadorial roles, also limited.
Their dreams, ultimately, depend on whether the Head of State will be as ruthless as he has been in dealing with Uhuru’s appointees. Ruto’s purge of his predecessor’s allies has not gone unnoticed, earning him criticism.
Raila yesterday called out Ruto for persecuting public service with no cause. “Many public servants are being sacked just because they served in the previous regime. There is no security of employment. In the United Kingdom, they have what is called His Majesty’s loyal civil service. The government changes hands but public servants are never sacked,” Raila said.
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“Someone has worked for 20 years in the civil service and is sacked, there is no justice in that. New names are published in the Kenya Gazette every week.”
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has on several occasions said that the president’s allies would be rewarded with state appointments at the expense of those who did not initially endorse Ruto’s bid.