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Politics

A CABINET SHUFFLE LOOMS AFTER OBAMA VISIT

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Even before the dust could settle after the departure of barrack Hussein Obama, sources privy to the talks with Uhuru Kenyatta divulged that top of the agenda was a plan to reorganize the government to fight corruption
It is said Obama had been briefed to the effect that a section of leaders in the ruling Jubilee coalition was condoning corruption whereas the president himself was clean man. It is said Uhuru hinted to Obama of a possible shuffle in his cabinet in due course to fight the vice.
Anxiety is high as Uhuru is expected to do am major mid-term shake up. Sources say the two leaders dwelt on dismissing corrupt and non-performing cabinet secretaries and government officials tainting the Kenyan image among local and international investors. It has emerged the naming of Eugene Wamalwa to the cabinet is part of the looming cabinet shuffle and was aimed at testing waters if it will divide Jubilee.
The imminent reshuffle and dismissals have put the CSs and PSs in a state of confusion because none of them knows when the axe of the president and his deputy will fall.
Targetted in the shuffle are the five suspended cabinet secretaries Charity Ngilu, Kazungu Kambi, Davis Chirchir, Michael Kamau and Felix Koskei. Also targetted are other senior officials who are on suspension over corruption allegations.
Uhuru is said to be contemplating a possible creation of additional ministries to hit the maximum of 22 as provided for in the constitution. This means that Uhuru can create three more ministries.
We have gathered that Uhuru is planning to create a new ministry of procurement under the presidency. The creation of the procurement ministry according to sources is to fight corruption in ministries and state corporations.
The idea is to centralise government procurement and put it in the office of the presidency. The move is being spearheaded by Tony Blair, a former Britain prime minister and now an adviser of Uhuru.
He was instrumental in poaching Nzioka Waita from Safaricom as corporate affairs manager to join government as secretary of delivery in the executive office of the president. He is to land the new slot of principal secretary procurement and delivery ministry.
The new ministry apart from handling government procurements will also handle procurement in constitutional commissions, independent offices and other government departments.
Apart from creating the new ministry, sources also say that there are proposals to split the powerful Devolution and Planning ministry currently held by Ann Waiguru. Waiguru has more than 20 departments under her including Special Programmes, Devolution, Planning, Public Service, Gender, Youth and Uwezo fund.
There are proposals to have Devolution and Planning as separate ministries. Sources say Waiguru will head devolution while a new Planning minister will be appointed.
Under Devolution will be intergovernmental relations and capacity building at the counties while Planning will have the functions of the former ministry of Planning that includes national development planning and economic policy management.
Also targetted for a split is the ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, a position currently held by Joseph Nkaissery. The ministry is charged with the responsibility of public administration, internal security, printing of government documents, immigration and registration of persons, betting control board probation services, prison services and championing campaign against drug and substance abuse.
The plan is to create a new ministry of Internal Security and leave ministry of Interior as an independent ministry. There have been rumours that the new Internal Security will be headed by retired Chief of General Staff Julius Karangi while Nkaissery will head the Interior portfolio.
For a long time, Uhuru is said to have been concerned at the slow pace at which some of his ministers were executing the Jubilee agenda. Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto are of the idea that a major shuffle of the cabinet after the Obama visit will be received well across the board.
Sources say with the current stalemate in the investigations and prosecution of the suspended ministers and top government officials following the resignation of Ethics and Anti Commission commissioners and the legal battles that have been generated over EAAC legality, their fate is set to take time hence a need to move on as events unfold.
Others say the government cannot continue to operate without five cabinet ministers and those handling the portfolio on acting capacity. In fact, it has been said, the acting ministers have openly complained they are being overworked.
The fear is that EACC as currently constituted is unconstitutional and any decisions made can easily be successfully challenged in court. It is against such fears that Uhuru and Ruto are said to have settled on making fresh appointments to replace the suspended ministers.
Ngilu is one of the ministers who sources say will soon be out of the government. In fact, the appointment of Monica Juma to the cabinet as secretary to the cabinet that failed was meant to endear Uhuru to Kamba vote and replace Ngilu. Last week, Ngilu went to the High Court to block her prosecution over the Sh8 billion land dispute in Karen. She has sought to challenge the constitutionality of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
Ngilu stated to the High Court that the case against her is based upon a directive from Uhuru. Ngilu has been charged in the case along with six others.
Also to face the shuffle are current ministers where rumours have it that at least three non-performing ministers will be shown the door while others transferred to other ministries.
It is expected that Raychelle Omamo of Defence and Foreign Affairs Amina Mohammed are likely to be moved. Amina could find herself at Industrialisation, replacing Aden Mohammed, who, sources say, wants to quit the cabinet and return to the private sector.
Omamo, who was previously Kenya’s ambassador to France, could find herself at Labour where she is acting. Kazungu Kambi, the suspended labour minister future hangs on a cliffhanger. Already, Kambi who has resorted to drinking heavily at times regretting why his wife died is likely to be replaced by Malindi MP, Dan Kazungu in cabinet.
Foreign Affairs will have a new face while the Defence portfolio will be in the hands of retired Chief of general Staff Karangi. He will replace Joseph Kamau in the cabinet. They are both from Nyeri County. Education’s CS Jacob Kaimenyi could also be moved.
Another minister under the microscope is Hassan Wario of sports, culture and arts. Sources say he has failed as Sports minister.
Principal secretaries are set to be reshuffled or dropped. Already, the government has been recruiting those to replace principal secretaries under watch. Uhuru is said to be planning to order directors all parastals whose CEOs were suspended to fill the vacant slots.
Last week, section of Kalenjin MPs demanded that Chirchir and Kosgey and a number of parastatal chiefs from the region be given back their jobs with claims that they were included in the list for selfish political reasons.
Uhuru is said to be working on a major shuffle of principal secretaries to first replace those who left office temporarily after they were named in the EACC report the president submitted to parliament.
Those who stepped aside are Defence PS Mutea Iringo, Nduva Muli, Transport, Patrick Omutia, Mining and James Teko,Water. Francis Kimemia has since been sacked as secretary to the cabinet.
Consequently the Public Service Commission had advertised position for principal secretaries where senior civil servants and parastatal chiefs were among 110 candidates who have been shortlisted.
Shockingly, a number of former PSs who had expressed interest in the position have been locked out of the final shortlist with only Beatrice Kituyi, a former Labour PS and Philomena Koech, Livestock, making the cut.
Among those who have been shortlisted are Uhuru’s adviser who is also Kenya’s ambassador to Unep Martin Kimani, Betty Maina, the outgoing chief executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the Kenya Tourism Board managing director Muriithi Ndegwa, Kenya Dairy Board CEO Paul Gichohi, former director of civic education and outreach at TJRC Elijah Letangule and William Oduol, the Siaya gubernatorial race candidate.

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