From afar, it might look like the most harmonious of political friendships, but from close, there is a broad pointer to discordance between Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
This, to a scope that Ruto blocked the appointment of former Chief of General Staff Julius Karangi, Constitutional Implementation Commission head Charles Nyachae, Kenyatta University vice-chancellor Olive Mugenda and Kilifi North MP Gideon Mungaro to the cabinet.
Sources divulged that Ruto had rejected a cabinet shuffle list Uhuru had presented for immediate adoption and release at a planned press conference at State House. It is being whispered within the corridors of power that Uhuru is in the process of increasing the CS slots to 22 as he prepares for an earthshaking shuffle of his cabinet.
Going by the list, others who would have landed cabinet slots in a major reorganisation of the deck are URP’s Sally Kosgei and Julius Kones. MP Dan Kazungu’s name also features with word the DP is also not comfortable with him to replace Kazungu Kambi in the Labour docket from where Kambi was suspended for misuse of office and other corruption charges.
The DP is also said to have rejected Karangi on grounds that he is suspected to have played a role in fixing him in the ICC. Ruto allies now say that if the National Intelligence Services director general Michael Gichangi was part of the team that gave crucial information on Ruto which both Justice Waki and ICC investigators relied on, it is highly unlikely that Karangi can not have been without a clue being a member of the Security Council.
Last week, the Orange Democratic Movement claimed that Gichangi procured witnesses and supplied evidence to the ICC implicating Ruto and Joshua Sang.
They further asserted that he testified on July 21 2008 and gave a deadly dossier that named and implicated Ruto and that the ICC Pre-trial Chamber relied a lot on the evidence supplied by the former intelligence boss Gichangi to confirm the charges against Ruto.
ODM further claimed that Gichangi’s name was submitted to the ICC as one of the witnesses for Uhuru’s case. However, when Ruto asked for Gichangi to help him with information for his case, he allegedly refused. The evidence was to assist Ruto in his defence in the ICC case now hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles. The information Ruto needed to bail him out of the dragnet, it is said, was solely in the custody of Gichangi as the intelligence chief then.
According to the list, Karangi was to land the Defence ministry portfolio which would have been rebranded Homeland Security replacing Rachael Omamo who had been moved to Land docket to replace suspended Charity Ngilu. However it is said, Ruto is not comfortable with Omamo at Land ministry and wants Fred Matiang’i who is now acting confirmed with Omamo replacing him at Information, Communication and Technology. Ruto is said to be pushing the lands Bill for his own vested interests and benefits through Matiang’i who of late has come out in defence of the Bill amid strong opposition from MPs, civil society and citizens.
However, in the extreme corners of Uhuru camp, his sidekicks believe a woman is best suited in the Land ministry to wage a decisive war on corrupt dealings at the ministry as opposed to men.
Kones is to replace Davis Chichir in the Energy portfolio. However, whereas Chichir’s return is not being pushed by Ruto team, that of his colleague Felix Koskei, the suspended Agriculture secretary is causing ripples within URP.
The Uhuru team wants all those suspended replaced with pro-Ruto allies with the sparing of Koskei. Koskei is a Nandi and if removed, it will open political battlefield for the DP in Kalenjin politics. The Nandis will start complaining they have been targeted by Jubilee as it happened during the Moi era.
Nevertheless, Uhuru is said to have proposed Kosgey to replace Koskei at the docket. The move was openly opposed by DP allies who said, in 2013, Kosgey backed Raila Odinga and hence need not to be appointed in the Uhuru administration. Henry Kosgey, a former minister in the Moi administration and who stepped down as ODM chairperson is also being fronted by a section in DP’s kitchen cabinet.
URP side is said to have opposed the creation of Homeland Police ministry for Karangi arguing it would water down the office of Inspector General of Police headed by Joseph Boinett whose appointment was lobbied by Rift Valley MPs after a hue and cry following the forced departure David Kimaiyo following upsurge in terrorists attacks. Prof Mugenda whose tenure at Kenyatta University ends in March next year was to take over the education docket from Jacob Kaimenyi. Mugenda has propelled Kenyatta University to new heights since taking over from the late George Eshiwani.
The pro-Ruto wing in the cabinet is said to be opposed to the appointments the same way they did with Eugene Wamalwa’s elevation to Water and Irrigation docket but Uhuru handlers found a way to have him land the plum job anyway.
Our source further divulged that the current push to have Devolution cabinet secretary Anne Waiguru impeached is part of the wider scheme to block the impending cabinet shake-up. The idea is to divert TNA mind from Waiguru survival as they engage into cabinet shuffle bargains. The impeachment which is being backed by key players in URP is likely to divide Jap like the ICC saga has.
But one person Ruto has no time is Nyachae. Sources say Ruto had proposed the Kisii governor Joash Maang’i and not Nyachae. Maangi is a close Ruto ally who has been doing ground work for him in Kisii county where Ruto has made several inroads to upstage Cord’s dominance in the region. Uhuru and Ruto had agreed to give Kisii county a cabinet slot since Nyamira county is represented by Matiang’i, himself a Nyachae relative.
Kisii governor James Ongwae is said to have welcomed it the appointment news. Of late, Maangi and Ongwae have been reading from same script with Maangi toning down his opposition on his boss.
Analysts say should Maangi get the appointment, to Ongwae, it would be a good riddance as he has has been feeling the political heat from Maangi after he declared that he would contest the Kisii gubernatorial seat come 2017.
With Maangi out of the 2017 gubernatorial race, Ongwae and his allies are well aware that he is as good as re-elected in 2017. Ruto allies say Maangi’s appointment would help Ruto in his 2022 presidential bid if the political scenario arising from the ICC events does not change.
His rejection of Nyachae is said to be based on the fact that the larger Nyachae family has lost political ground in Kisii county and whoever aligns with the family politically stands serious setbacks in 2017. Maangi hasb become influential in Kisii politics and Ruto knows his potential.
Nyachae’s frequent and repeated public declarations that he does not want his tenure at the commission extended once it expires, is aimed at avoiding any situation that would block his ascent to the cabinet. Office holders in constitutional commissions are barred from holding cabinet posts or other public offices.
Highly placed sources have revealed that Nyachae’s name is on the list of several new inclusions Uhuru has added to the cabinet which he is reconstructing following the removal of Ngilu, Michael Kamau of Transport, Koskei, Chirchir and Kambi in a botched anti-corruption purge.
Leaks from the presidency have indicated that Nyachae has been primed to get the Devolution docket which is to be hived off from the humongous ministry of Devolution and Planning currently held by Anne Waiguru.
There are fears that part of Nyachae’s brief in the new office will be to entrench Jubilee’s tentacles and plan to make counties subservient to the Central government and craft a situation where county governments will be directly supervised by the provincial administration deployed and managed by the presidency.
Though quick to throw blame at parliament for long delays in publishing Bills and enacting new laws notably: on Land reforms, security sector reforms, the one third women representation in parliament and re-organisation of the provincial administration to align with devolution among others, the CIC chairman failed to anchor the processes of writing the new mandatory laws all the way to the expiry of their deadlines.
Under Nyachae’s watch at the CIC, Kenyans have watched as the executive blatantly broke the law, misapplied the law and even made openly unconstitutional decisions and moves like the removal of Deputy Inspector General of Police Grace Kaindi and picking Joel Kitili as her replacement instead of advertising the post and carrying out interviews as prescribed by the law.
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