9 August 2018

Kenya: Odinga Speaks Out on Cabinet Shuffle

Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday termed as a creation of the media speculations of a looming Cabinet reshuffle said to have been planned following his historic deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader also rubbished as 'mere imagination" reports of a planned visit by himself and President Kenyatta to Nyanza this week, asking the media to seek information from official channels.

"How do you go with a big headline announcing that oh, Raila will have a hand in a Cabinet reshuffle, oh, there'll be a trip to Nyanza next week, without any information at all? I don't know what has become of the media. Tunasema shetani ashindwe (We say the devil is defeated)!" Mr Odinga told journalists at Orange House.

Mr Odinga's comments came just a day after President Kenyatta alluded to the Cabinet reshuffle speculations, saying he had chosen to 'go back to Nairobi' following immense talk about his two-week stay at the Coast.

TOO MUCH SPECULATION

"I have been in Mombasa for two weeks and there has been too much speculation on why I am here, so let me just go back to Nairobi so that they can stop all these," President Kenyatta told delegates at the Africa Heads of Schools Conference in Mombasa.

On Wednesday, Mr Odinga also commented on a trip said to be planned between him and President Kenyatta to Nyanza this week, saying all that was untrue.

"I have just seen these things in the media, and I laughed. Why don't you call State House, or my office to ask about such things?," Mr Odinga said.

Talk of a Cabinet reshuffle has been in the media for the past week.

RESHUFFLE

So real was the threat of a reshuffle, it appears, that Sports Cabinet Secretary (CS) Rashid Echesa referred to them, daring Mr Odinga to sack him, in reference to what he said were comments the opposition leader was making in the context of the March 9 handshake.

"This government is led by President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto and Raila should stop intimidating those of us who have been appointed to serve as CSs. I dare him, if he is the appointing authority, let him sack me," a furious Mr Echesa said.

While Mr Echesa's fears cannot be confirmed, or rightly attributed to fear that Mr Odinga's hand might edge him out of the Cabinet, it is such utterances that fuelled speculation of an impending reshuffle.

Besides Mr Echesa, who feared that he could be edged out in favour of ODM adherents, there are some CSs who are reported to have been extremely concerned about their fate following reports of the Cabinet purge.

NAMED IN SCAMS

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, and Education Principal Secretary Dr Belio Kipsang' on Wednesday joined Treasury's Henry Rotich, his East African Community and Regional Development counterpart Adan Mohamed as well as ex-Agriculture CS Willy Bett among those who have been indicted by various parliamentary committees.

The purge, reports said, was going to hit at those who had been adversely mentioned in different scams.

At the same time, Tourism CS Najib Balala has been facing consistent calls for his resignation following the death of 10 of the 11 rhinos moved from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks to a sanctuary in Tsavo East, and his "go to hell" retort to those he said wanted him to step aside.

IMPEACHMENT MOTIONS

Health CS Sicily Kariuki survived an impeachment motion following scandals at the Kenyatta National Hospital, with the National Youth Service losing millions of taxpayer's money under her watch as the Youth CS.

"If you are a CS, and certain things happen under your watch, in your ministry, why do you have to wait for the president to tell you to take a back seat?" asked Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi in an interview with Citizen TV.

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