Three PSs miss out on Uhuru’s new list

Three serving principal secretaries (PS) are missing from the list of top State officials released by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday evening, signalling their dismissal from the civil service.

Mr Kenyatta’s list of 41 PSs did not include the names of Joseph Tiampati (Information), John Konchellah (East African Affairs) and Wilson Songa (Industrialisation).

It had the names of their replacements as Victor Kyalo (Information), Betty Maina (East African Affairs) and Julius Korir (Industrialisation).

Their exclusion from the list is similar to the style used to dismiss former Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku where Kenyans were left to conclude that he had been sacked.

Mr Lenku’s term was quietly brought to an end in December 2014 in the aftermath of two terror attacks in north eastern Kenya which left 64 dead.

Mr Kenyatta made no reference to Mr Lenku or why he was let go in his address but instead appointed Joseph Nkaissery to take over Mr Lenku’s docket. Similarly, no official reason was given for the exclusion of the three principal secretaries on Tuesday.

The Constitution allows the president to dismiss PSs without reference to anyone. Mr Kenyatta said that the reorganisation of the government — which also saw six new ministers appointed — was necessary to increase the effectiveness and accountability of the public officials.

The reshuffle has been several months in the making with sources indicating in June that Mr Kenyatta was readying to dismiss corrupt and non-performing ministers and PSs.

The new principal secretaries have been drawn from a list supplied by the Public Service Commission which is legally mandated to recruit senior officers. The PSC aertised for PS positions and interviewed the applicants in May, fuelling speculation that a reshuffle was imminent.

The three PSs who have been replaced were appointed in 2013 as part of a fresh team with a private sector background, picked to bring their expertise into the public domain.

An MBA holder, Mr Konchellah rose through the ranks to head the Kenyatta Avenue Branch of the National Bank of Kenya. He also unsuccessfully vied for the Narok County governor’s seat in the March 2013 elections.

Mr Tiampati had 25 years’ experience in banking, during which he rose to the position of head of retail credit at KCB. Dr Songa’s exclusion throws into confusion a career as a senior civil servant that he has enjoyed for the last decade. Prior to his appointment in 2013, he served as the Agriculture Secretary, from July 2005.

The three are now among eight PSs, appointed by Mr Kenyatta in 2013, who have lost their positions. All the other five lost their positions over graft-related allegations.

Mutea Iringo (Defence), Nduva Muli (Transport), Patrick Omutia (Mining) and James Teko (Water) were asked to step aside for investigations after they were included on the List of Shame which detailed 176 suspected graft cases.

Peter Mangiti (Planning) lost his post last week after he was charged with threatening National Youth Service (NYS) senior deputy director Adan Harakhe when he was investigating the theft of Sh695.4 million.

Mr Kenyatta had in 2013 appointed 26 principal secretaries to head various State departments and act as the accounting officers.

This number was expanded to 41 on Tuesday, meaning that 23 new PSs were appointed.