The Star (Nairobi)

23 February 2013

Kenya: Kimemia Dodges Journalists At Media Briefing

HEAD of Public Service Francis Kimemia looked like a man under pressure yesterday when he briefly attended a media briefing organised by the government committee preparing the inauguration of the next President after the March 4 elections.

Kimemia who chairs the committee spent less than 15 minutes at the breakfast meeting held at the Intercontinental hotel as journalists eagerly awaited to engage him on the recent saga sparked off by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga's revelation that Kimemia had blocked his travel to Tanzania.

Kimemia only gave a timetable of the day when the swearing in will take place and appeared to be in a hurry to invite the Inspector General of police David Kimaiyo to address the media on security issues.

Once Kimaiyo had taken the podium, Kimemia walked out of the room while speaking on the phone with an aide saying that he was to accompany the president to Eldoret where the head of State of officiating a military recruits pass out parade.

When journalists asked about Kimemia's abrupt exit for the meeting room, Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo was at pains to explain whether Kimemia was still in the vicinity. The PS said government spokesman Kariuki Muthui was going to find out if Kimemia was still around.

"Let him (Muthui) see if he can get him (Kimemia) to come address your concerns," Ndemo said. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said that he had been stopped at the airport delaying his travel to Tanzania following instructions given by Kimemia that the head of the judiciary had not been cleared to travel.

Kimemia has been accused of frustrating and intimidating the CJ with the CORD Alliance led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga calling for his resignations.

Raila has also accused Kimemia of aiding Jubilee Alliance led by his rival Uhuru Kenyatta in its campaigns and plotting to rig the election in favour of Jubilee.

Kimemia has denied the allegations and asked the PM to make public the claims that they met to plan on how to rig the election. Kimemia is also on the record as saying he is a professional and not a politician.

"Let those allegations be made public, not a secret, because we are all public officers so that Kenyans can see whether we are as bad as the things that are being said about us," he said.

"And if it is found that indeed we are guilty, we are ready to face the law because it is very clear, personally I am a law abiding citizen, let them produce the evidence," Kimemia added.

Kimemia also denied claims that OP was already forming the next government, reinforcing its earlier stand that it wasn't supporting Jubilee.

He said the President-elect will choose names of principal secretaries from a shortlist presented to him or her by the Public Service Commission.

"We are not appointing any principal secretaries, we are not at all involved in the process, the president-elect will choose from a shortlist presented to him by PSC. All we are doing is guided by the law and nothing else," said Kimemia.

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