Three PSs sent home as President raids private sector for new blood

By: DAVID HERBLING

President Kenyatta quietly sent three principal secretaries packing even as he raided the corporate world for people to run key departments of his government.

Industrialisation’s Wilson Songa topped the list of PSs who were left in limbo after the President announced a new-look government that brought new faces to the Cabinet and increased the number of departments.

Information PS Joseph Tiampati and his counterpart at the East African Affairs, John Konchellah, were also sent home in the changes announced on Tuesday night.

Unlike their counterparts who were dismissed while on suspension for involvement in alleged corruption, the three were in office and had not been implicated in any wrongdoing.

President Kenyatta made the changes as part of an effort that began on Monday to clean up his government that has in recent months been tainted by allegations of grand corruption and mismanagement.

In what appears to confirm his belief in private sector solutions to the challenges of government, the President went back to corporate Kenya for new blood he needed to revamp his Cabinet even as he took back two career politicians at the centre of power, making an about-turn on his earlier commitment to surround himself with technocrats.

The President’s list of new blood from the private sector has Kenya Seed Company MD Willy Bett, who has been nominated to serve in the giant Agriculture ministry, Nairobi Hospital chief executive Cleopa Mailu (Health) and former Google executive Joe Mucheru, who is lined up for the ICT docket.

Serving corporate executives appointed as PSs to head State departments are Equity Investment Bank managing director Wilson Nyakera Irungu

(Transport), Ewaso Ngiro South Development Authority boss Charles Sunkuli (Environment), Kenya country director of Trademark East Africa Chris Kiptoo (International Trade) and Agriculture Development Corporation managing director Andrew Tuimur (Livestock).

Other PSs are Susan Mochache, who serves as an assistant director at the Communications Authority of Kenya, who is earmarked for Social Security and Services docket; ICT Authority boss Victor Kyalo (ICT & Innovation), UN Nairobi training coordinator Lilian Omollo (Youth and Public Service), Danish Embassy private sector specialist Joe Okudo (Arts and Culture), Fatuma Hirsi of Universal Postal Union, World Bank sanitation expert Patrick Nduati Mwangi (Irrigation) and Andrew Kamau, consultant at Bracewell Energy, who takes charge of Petroleum department.

Past corporate executives on the list of PSs include former KAM chief executive Betty Maina (EAC Integration), former Equatorial Commercial Bank boss Sammy Itemere (Broadcasting and Telecommunications), former Kenya Maritime Authority director-general Nancy Karigithu (Maritime Commerce) and former Cotton Development Authority boss Micah Powon (Correctional Services).

The changes announced on Tuesday night were President Kenyatta’s first Cabinet shuffle since assuming power in April 2013.

His second wave of hiring from the corporate world comes at a time the performance of serving Cabinet secretaries picked from the private sector is under the spotlight as the UhuRuto administration enters the second half of its term.

The executive changes also saw the appointment of Kericho Senator Charles Keter to the lucrative Energy ministry, former Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution) and Malindi lMP Dan Kazungu (Mining).

SOURCE: DAILY NATION