President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday named his full Cabinet and at the same time introduced a new position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in all ministries.
CAS, he said, will be responsible for helping the Cabinet Secretary to better coordinate the running of the affairs of their respective ministries. Addressing the nation from State House, Nairobi, the Head of State introduced to his team a number of new faces in the team, some of who vied and lost in the August General Election.
Even as he sought to ensure regional balance, Uhuru also rewarded loyalty as he assembled the team that will steer his second and last term in office.
The new faces include former Meru Governor Peter Munya, who was nominated as the East Africa Community Cabinet secretary and renowned journalist Farida Karoney, who will head the Lands docket.
Prof Margaret Kobia was nominated to Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender, while John Munyes will be Petroleum and Mining CS if approved by Parliament. Monicah Juma was nominated to the Foreign Affairs docket replacing Amina Mohamed who was moved to head the Education ministry.
Outspoken Mumias politician Rashid Mohamed will be the new Sports CS while Simon Chelugui will head the Water ministry. The axe fell on former CSs who were demoted to head foreign missions.
They include Judi Wakhungu, named Kenya’s envoy to France, Dan Kazungu who will be Kenya’s envoy to Tanzania, Phyllis Kandie who heads to Belgium, Willy Bett will be Kenya’s to India while Jacob Kaimenyi who was the lands CS had been deployed to Unesco as the country’s envoy.
Hassan Wario heads to Austria and the former health CS Cleopa Mailu proceeds to Geneva as head of UN mission. There were minimal changes in the foreign missions with Kiema Kilonzo named Kenya’s ambassador to Turkey and Lazarus Amayo who was moved from Ghana to head UN mission in New York.
Uhuru also rewarded key pointmen in different regions who campaigned for his reelection. Topping the list were former MPs Ababu Namwamba who was named the CAS Foreign Affairs, Gideon Mung’aro CAS Lands, Chris Obure (Kisii senator) CAS Transport, Rachael Shebesh CAS Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs.
Others were Patrick Ntutu who vied for the Narok gubernatorial seat, Simon Kachapin, former West Pokot Governor appointed CAS, Education, Ken Obura CAS, EAC and Northern Corridor Development.
And contrary to earlier reports, Deputy president William Ruto reigned supreme in the Rift Valley politics edging out Kanu chairman Gideon Moi his nemesis in the local politics.
There was speculation Kanu had entered into a deal to have two slots in the cabinet for backing Jubilee in the elections. Instead Uhuru named Moi’s opponent for the Baringo senatorial seat Simon Chelugui to the Cabinet to head the Water docket.
The Head of State appears to have included all regions in the country as he seeks to form an all-inclusive team. The writing was on the wall for the axed secretaries owing to their performance during the time in office.
For example Wario was blamed for bungling the London Oympics preparations where money to the tune of hundreds of millions shillings was embezzled, athletes mistreated and officials accused of having included in the entourage families members, friends and allies.
Kaimenyi had a rough time during his time in the Lands ministry, failing to pick form where former CS Charity Ngilu left. During his reign land reforms initiated by Ngilu stalled.
He also failed to tame the National Land Commission leaving it to champion the said reforms. Kandie was living on borrowed time, going by her performance during her vetting by a committee of Parliament.
She only made the cut after the committee members resolved to approve her name so as not to embarrass the appointing authority. Mailu was accused of being indecisive and often being out done by workers’ organisations in labour disputes.
In particular, Mailu was accused of failing to defend the government during the doctors’ strike and the nurses’ dispute, which lasted over five months. Kazungu failed to sparkle and was not aggressive in the presidential campaigns in the coastal region. He was outmanoeuvred by Mung’aro.
Mwangi Kiunjuri who is angling himself as the Mount Kenya pointman was moved to the powerful Agriculture docket. The removal of Amina Mohammed from the influential Foreign docket to Education ministry was foreseen by pundits but caught many by surprise.