By: PETER LEFTIE
The fate of five Cabinet Secretaries who stepped aside over graft and abuse of office allegations appears to have been sealed following Tuesday night’s reshuffle.
President Kenyatta replaced all the five Cabinet Secretaries currently under suspension, investigation or facing court cases over irregularities in their ministries.
These are Mr Davis Chirchir (Energy), Mr Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Mr Michael Kamau (Transport), Mrs Charity Ngilu (Health) and Mr Kambi Kazungu (Labour).
Also replaced was former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru who resigned last weekend in the wake of corruption scandals in institutions under her ministry, especially the National Youth Service (NYS), which had lost over Sh700 million in irregular procurement contracts.
NEW PRINCIPAL SECRETARIES
President Kenyatta also nominated new Principal Secretaries to replace those he sacked, including Mr Mutea Iringo (Defence), Mr Nduva Muli (Transport), Mr Patrick Omutia (Mining) and Mr James Teko (Water).
Also suspended is Devolution PS Peter Mangiti who has been charged in court over the NYS scandal.
They were replaced by Mr Peter Kaberia (Defence), Mr Wilson Irungu (Transport), Mr Mohamed Mahmud (Mining), Mr Fred Sigor (Water) and Mr Mwanamaka Mabruki (Devolution).
Mr Kenyatta also said he would in the next two weeks announce more changes in the presidency “in order to create the necessary structures for the effective coordination of my government and to improve my own ability to serve the Kenyan people more effectively”.
SECRETARY TO THE CABINET
The President did not fill the office of Secretary to the Cabinet, which has remained vacant since Mr Francis Kimemia was dropped in March.
Mr Kenyatta had at one point nominated Ms Monica Juma to the position but her appointment was rejected by the National Assembly. On Tuesday, the President named her the new Foreign Affairs PS.
The reshuffle came only four days after Mr Kenyatta received a report by the task force on fighting corruption chaired by Attorney-General Githu Muigai. The team had proposed far reaching measures to tackle corruption.
WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION
According to sources, the task force had recommended that all CSs and other senior state officers who have been suspended over corruption allegations be replaced immediately to send a clear message that government officials would take responsibility for the running of their dockets.
Trade Unions on Wednesday welcomed the new changes, particularly the sacking of Mr Kambi and the transfer of Education CS Jacob Kaimenyi to the Lands, Housing and Urban Planning Ministry.
Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli said the union had on three separate occasions petitioned the President to transfer Mr Kambi from the Labour Ministry.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said Prof Kaimenyi’s transfer was long overdue.
“Kaimenyi should have been removed from the ministry a long time ago… Teachers of Kenya are relieved that he has finally left. Being a trained teacher, we hope that Matiang’i will reorganise the ministry and give it the required direction,” he said.
On Tuesday, the President announced the expansion of State departments from 26 to 41.
“Anti-corruption measures will be implemented through state departments which are headed by Principal Secretaries. A key initiative will be the complete overhaul of procurement departments,” he said.
The president asked the National Assembly to speed up the vetting of the nominees.