By Whispers Team
It is now not a matter of if, but when, President Uhuru Kenyatta will unveil a new-look Cabinet that reflects emerging political realignments in the country. Sources familiar with the political on goings intimated to Whispers that up to seven Cabinet secretaries may be dropped to pave way for formation of a government of national unity.
After overhauling Jubilee Party leadership in Parliament, an exercise that saw allies of Deputy President William Ruto lose prime leadership positions, the President is said to have shifted his focus to the Cabinet, where he is expected to make major changes by introducing experienced hands to drive his pet project of enhancing national cohesion.
Those familiar with his thinking say the President has already made up his mind that to secure an environment necessary to deliver on his projects and secure his legacy, some of his lieutenants in the Cabinet must leave. And because his legacy is underpinned by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that he crafted together with Opposition leader Raila Odinga, formation of a government of national unity or a “grand coalition Cabinet” is inevitable.
“The President is consulting widely with all political players in an effort to reconstitute a Cabinet which is more cohesive, balanced, efficient and better placed to deliver services to Kenyans,” said a highly placed source that cannot be identified discussing intimate State matters.
President Kenyatta, the source said, is keen to assemble a team of experienced leaders who will work for him “body and soul” as he enters the home-stretch of his final term. Among the Cabinet Secretaries said not to be sitting pretty, include those perceived to have the Head of State’s ear, such as James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure) and Sicily Kariuki (Water).
Others are Faridah Karoney (Lands), Keriako Tobiko (Environment), Simon Chelugui (Labour) and Adan Mohammed (East African Affairs). Rachel Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Amina Mohammed (Sports) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) have also been mentioned as possible casualties.
Those affected will be dropped for various reasons ranging from corruption in their dockets, inefficiency, and showing interest in the 2022 election.
A couple of Principal Secretaries are also likely to be dropped to pave way for more experienced technocrats and politicians from parties that have recently signed partnership agreements with Jubilee.
In place the CSs likely to be dropped, Raila is said to have submitted at least three names to be considered for Cabinet posts, while Wiper Party’s Kalonzo Musyoka and Chama Cha Mashinani’s Isaac Ruto are likely to provide one name each.
The two parties on Wednesday entered a cooperation agreement with the governing Jubilee. KANU chairman Gideon Moi is part of the new leadership configuration and is said to have been allocated two slots.
However, ANC party boss Musalia Mudavadi and embattled Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula are out of the loop having been associated with Ruto’s side.
To Be Elevated
Mukhisa Kituyi, whose term as Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD ends this month has also been touted to play a significant role in future government as Uhuru seeks to fulfill his legacy projects.
Others are politicians Paul Otuoma, Jamleck Kamau and Peter Kenneth, who is poised to replace Joe Mucheru at ICT. Jamleck Kamau, a former Kigumo MP, is touted to take over CS Macharia’s docket whose stint as Transport and Infrastructure boss has been riddled with controversies and corruption involving big parastatals.
Former PS Carey Orege, a close ally of Raila, is said to be among three persons proposed to join Cabinet. Samson Mwathethe, the recently retired Chief of Defence Forces, is also said to be among those being considered for a ministerial position.
Contacted, Orege said he was unaware of the move. “Those things are only known by the President and his people,” he told Whispers. Richard Bosire, a Political Science lecturer at the University of Nairobi said the cooperation agreements signed with opposition is motivated by the need to be accommodated in government.
“The parties’ main aim is to have their people incorporated in government by a President who is keen to marshal and consolidate more political power. With ODM and Wiper Party on his side he has sufficient numbers to pursue his agenda,” said the don.
He attributed Uhuru’s move to constant claims by Ruto’s allies that they enjoy huge numbers in Parliament. “Kalonzo and Raila are also likely to play ball because the strategy helps weaken Ruto who they see as their opponent in the next election,” said Bosire.
Recently, Senate Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata, said changes in the Cabinet were inevitable. Speaking in Murang’a County on June 7, Kang’ata revealed that the President will axe some CSs, PSs and chief Administrative Secretaries to pave way for the establishment of a government on national unity.