Ababu, Metito appointed to Cabinet posts
President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday shuffled the cabinet appointing ODM MPs Ababu Namwamba and John Mbadi ministers. The principals appeared to reward their political confidants and supporters. This could be the last Cabinet reshuffle under the old constitution that empowered the President and Prime Minister to make unilateral appointments. The new constitution provides that ministers, who will be known as cabinet secretaries, will be recruited competitively and vetted by Parliament.
They will be drawn from outside Parliament. On the PNU side, President Kibaki named Loitokitok MP Katoo ole Metito minister for Provincial Administration and Internal Security to replace George Saitoti who died last June 10 in a police helicopter crash. The post was being held in acting capacity by Defence Minister Yusuf Haji. Katoo was serving as Regional Development Authority assistant minister.
On the ODM side, Budalangi MP Ababu, who has been a strong defender of Raila in and outside Parliament, was made the minister for Youth Affairs and Sports previously being held by Paul Otuoma. Otuoma was transferred to the ministry of Local Government which was being held in acting capacity by Westlands MP Fred Gumo. Gumo, who is the Regional Development Minister, was made the acting Local Government minister when Musalia Mudavadi resigned and ditched ODM for UDF last May. Gwasi MP Mbadi was appointed Assistant Minister, Office of the Prime Minister.
The post was previously held by Alfred Khangati, who has now been named Assistant Minister, Provincial Administration and Internal Security to replace Orwa Ojode who died in June in the helicopter crash along with Saitoti. In the reshuffle West Mugirango MP James Gesami was reinstated as Assistant Minister for Public Health. Gesami stepped aside last February after he was indicted over alleged mismanagement of the Constituency Development Fund.
The courts however cleared him three weeks ago for lack of evidence. Born in 1973, Katoo was first elected to Parliament in 2002 following the death of Kajiado South MP Geoffrey Parpai. A graduate in Microprocessor Technology and Instrumentation from the University of Nairobi and a higher diploma holder in Management of Information Systems from Strathmore College, Katoo is considered a Kibaki loyalist. He also served as Assistant Minister of Youth Affairs within the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Before joining politics, Katoo served as an Administrator & Accountant for the Kenya Economic Pastoralist Development Association between 2000 2001. He worked for the United Nations World Food Programme as a Divisional Controller in Kenya from 1998 to 2000. Yesterday, Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchellah, who was expected to replace Saitoti as the Internal Security minister, thanked President Kibaki and Raila for appointing Katoo.
The PNU Chairman praised the Principals saying that it was a big honour for them having ensured that the position that was formerly held by George Saitoti went back to the Maasai Community. On his part, Namwamba was first elected Budalangi MP in 2007 general election replacing former assistant minister Raphael Wanjala.
On his first day in parliament, Namwamba refused to take the oath in the name of President Kibaki whose election was bitterly contested by ODM. He instead swore in the name of Raila but eventually retracted. Later he would be caught up in the maize scandal politics which pitted former agriculture minister William Ruto and Raila.
For some time, Namwamba gravitated towards Ruto alongside other youthful Mps such as Konoin’s Julius Kones and Cherengany’s Joshua Kuttuny. In parliament, Namwamba chaired the administration of justice and legal affairs committee and was a member of the parliamentary select committee which negotiated the constitution in 2010. Most recently, Namwamba was the self-styled commander of “operation okoa Raila”.