12 January 2018

Kenya: Cabinet Slots - Who Will It Be in Western and Nyanza?

Leaders in Western Kenya have quietly intensified lobbying for Cabinet secretaries posts ahead of second round naming of Cabinet by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The dropping of Water CS Eugene Wamalwa, his Environment counterpart Judy Wakhungu, all from Western and Rachel Omamo (Defence) from Nyanza has led to behind the scenes lobbying by leaders who backed Jubilee in the last elections.

In Nyanza, Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju and former Karachuonyo MP James Rege are leading the pack of individuals touted for the positions even though Jubilee gubernatorial candidates Tom Alila (Homa Bay) and Atieno Otieno (Kisumu) said they were also up to the task should they be nominated.

The name of Kenya National Examinations Council chairman Prof George Magoha is also being mentioned as a possible replacement of Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang'i in the Education docket.

In Western, Labour Party of Kenya leader Ababu Namwamba, former Funyula MP Paul Otuoma and former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga have been flouted.

Most of the leaders remained guarded on the matter when reached by Nation for comments.

"We have just come from a protracted political season. At the moment I am taking time off politics, travelling out of the country on extended vacation," Mr Namwamba told the Nation

"About cabinet, I would advise you to respect the wisdom of Deputy President William Ruto and let His Excellency the President execute his prerogative power to construct government without undue influence or pressure."

However, some of their handlers said they were keen on clinching the positions and were using "all possible means to catch the eyes of the authorities."

Mr Rege who ditched Nasa leader Raila Odinga's ODM party to support President Kenyatta in the last elections however, said he was keen on securing a slot noting that "I will accept it and serve my people."

"I have seen my name being flouted around and I would like to believe that I may make it to the cabinet," Mr Rege said.

Former Jubilee nominated Senator Joy Gwendo expressed confidence that the cabinet will be all inclusive.

"For now let us give the appointing authority chance to finalize the appointments," Ms Gwendo said.

Former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga said he was prepared to work with President Uhuru Kenyatta in any capacity.

"The appointment of the CS is the prerogative of H.E the President. If in his own wisdom appoints me to serve this Nation I won't let him down."

Labour Party of Kenya (LPK) founder Prof Julia Ojiambo said they were proud that Jubilee which they supported in the last elections won

"We want to commit ourselves to serving the Country and our people. Our support for Jubilee was voluntary and real. It was not pegged on any appointments. We can serve our Country even is not holding the positions of CS or PS," Prof Ojiambo said.

In Nyanza, County Jubilee official Zuberi Liete said they would favour appointment of Mr Tuju rather than Mr Rege "based on his (Tuju's ) past development record as Information Minister and Rarieda MP."

When Mr Tuju was Minister for Information having been appointed after 2002 elections, Mr Rege was his Permanent Secretary.

An elder from Karachuonyo Constituency, Mr Ager Kirowo however, said Mr Rege having sacrificed his MP seat for Jubilee was best suited for an appointment.

"We however, pray that both of them (Rege and Tuju) gets appointments for serving Jubilee diligently despite the harsh conditions in this region," said Mr Kirowo.

Mr Tom Alila and Mrs Atieno Otieno who vied for Homa Bay and Kisumu Governor positions respectively on Jubilee tickets said the region should be considered for positions to enable residents embrace the Government.

"We operated under tough circumstances and we hope our efforts will be recognised," Mr Alila said.

Jubilee Party politicians in Nyanza have been pushing for consideration, in general, arguing they had been campaigning for the party.

"We have weathered storms and worked for Jubilee Party in Nyanza amid criticism. Those lobbying for appointments from the presidents should first tell us where they were when we were campaigning for the party in this region," said Zuberi Lieta, the Jubilee Chairman in Kisumu.

Former Jubilee Party governorship for Kisumu County Atieno Otieno yesterday asked President Kenyatta to first consider loyalists of the party in his state appointments.

"We are aware that those seeking President Kenyatta's attention are those who vied on independent tickets and those who were in Nasa affiliated parties," claimed Ms Otieno.

However, Jubilee Party Coordinator in Homa Bay Odhiambo Makowiti differed with his colleagues, saying the president wants to form an inclusive government and is free to pick whoever he thinks is qualified to any position.

"We should not restrict the president on who he can appoint. He said he wants to form an inclusive government and we should allow him to do so," said Mr Makowiti.

Jubilee Party politicians in Nyanza have been lobbying for President Kenyatta's attention to have them picked in cabinet and other state appointments.

After the 2013 General Election, President Kenyatta considered several politicians from the region in boards of parastatals and other appointive positions.

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