Kenya: Odinga, Kalonzo Rewarded in Kenyatta Cabinet Reshuffle

President Uhuru Kenyatta hugs Opposition leader Raila Odinga as his Deputy President William Ruto (right) and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka cheer them at the National Prayer Breakfast meeting (file photo).
18 February 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed allies of ODM party leader Raila Odinga and his Wiper counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka to top government positions as he seeks to stamp his authority and see through the implementation of his legacy projects less than two years to the 2022 General Election.

The changes, which have largely affected the positions of chief administrative secretaries (CAS) and principal secretaries (PS), have seen eight new entrants to the new executive line-up with pro-Handshake leaders the biggest beneficiaries.

Allies of Deputy President William Ruto have been moved to less prestigious positions and the fate of others are unknown.

However, the fates of some CAS remained unclear by yesterday night as they were not re-assigned nor did the communiqué indicate that they have been sacked.

These include Labour and Social Protection CAS and former Narok West MP Patrick Ole Ntutu, an ally of the Deputy President William Ruto; Youth and Gender CAS and former Nairobi Women Representative Rachel Shebesh, Former Subukia MP and National Treasury and Planning Ministry CAS Nelson Gaichuhie and Education CAS Mumina Bonaya.

Top among the new entrants is former University of Nairobi (UoN) student leader and political analyst David Osiany, a close ally to Mr Odinga, who has been appointed as chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development.

He was a Youth advisor to Mr Odinga when he was a Prime Minister. Mr Osiany, who has an eye on the Rongo parliamentary seat, had in September, 2018 been appointed to the Chemelil Sugar Company Board.

More changes

Further, Mr Eric Simiyu Wafukho has been appointed as the chief administrative secretary in the National Treasury and Planning Ministry replacing Mr Gaichuhie while Jackson Musyoka Kalla has been appointed in a similar capacity in the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection replacing former MP Mr Ole Ntutu.

Mr Kalla is a close ally of Mr Musyoka and was the first runners up in the 2017 Machakos senatorial race on a Wiper ticket. He vied for the ticket which eventually went to Agnes Kavindu Muthama.

Mr Zachary Ayieko, a former Kenya Power and Rural Electrification boss, is the new CAS in the Ministry of Energy replacing former West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin who has been moved to the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage. Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage CAS Mr Hassan Noor Hassan has moved to the Ministry of Education as its new CAS with the fate of Ms Bonaya unknown.

Former Tharaka MP Alex Mburi Mwiru takes over as CAS in the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning replacing Gideon Mung'aro who has been moved to the Devolution Ministry in a similar capacity.

Mr Lawrence Angolo Omuhaka is the new CAS in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives replacing Lina Jebii Kilimo who has been moved to the Ministry of Public Service and Gender with the fate of Ms Shebesh unknown.

Major changes

Fisheries and Blue Economy PS Prof Japheth Ntiba Micheni will head the State Law Office and Department of Justice as its new CAS taking over from Winnie Guchu who has been moved to the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

Ms Guchu was instrumental in the re-election of Mr Kenyatta in 2013 and 2017 when she served in Jubilee and her return to the powerful ministry is telling.

The other major changes took place at the Education ministry where President Kenyatta brought in the team that was instrumental in the roll-out of the Competency Based Curriculum.

They include Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Council chairperson Dr Sara Ruto appointed the new CAS in the Ministry of Education replacing Zack Kinuthia who has been moved to the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage.

Realignments in the principal secretaries positions has seen Early Learning and Basic Education PS Dr Belio Kipsang replace Dr Margaret Mwakima as the new PS for Regional and Northern Corridor Development with Vocational and Technical Training PS Dr Julius Jwan taking over Dr Kipsang's former position. Dr Kipsang is an ally of the Deputy president.

Momentous task

Dr Mwakima is now the new PS for Vocational and Technical Training while Ambassador Peter Kaberia has been moved to the State department for Industrialization as its new PS taking over from Mr Francis Owino, who has been moved to the State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy.

Former Petroleum PS Andrew Kamau has taken over Mr Kaberia's position as new Mining and Petroleum PS. This is after the State department for Mining was merged with State department for Petroleum to establish a single state department within the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining.

Further, former Devolution PS Mr Charles Sunkuli is now the new Principal Secretary in the State Department for Youth Affairs swapping places with Julius Korir.

"The changes take effect immediately," read yesterday's letter by the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.

Mr Kinyua said the changes are meant to foster operational efficiency, expedite the implementation of various ground-breaking reforms, and introduce functional changes that shall make ministries and state departments more effective and better able to deliver on their mandates.

"The changes are also in recognition of the momentous task of setting the foundation for building back better, as Kenya rebounds from the socioeconomic shocks of the coronavirus pandemic," he said.

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