State House denies First Lady Lucy sacked chef
State House last night denied that the head chef had been unceremoniously sacked after he displeased First Lady Lucy Kibaki. The chief, only identified as a Mr King'ori lost his job in unclear circumstances just hours before President Kibaki left for the official opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games last Friday. The First Lady did not accompany the president. Instead, their daughter Judy Kibaki was with her father when he met with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.
The First Lady has been keeping a low profile and has also been absent during public functions for close to a year. The Presidential Press Service has strenuously sought to assure the public that all was well with the First Lady. According to multiple sources, the chef has not been replaced after the falling out with the First Lady.
Last evening the Head of the Presidential Press Service Isaiya Kabira denied that a chef had been fired. "No chef has been fired and wonder what any such inaccurate report is meant to achieve. Your sources are misinformed and only want to trivialize State House operations. Those charged with the responsibility of undertaking catering services at State House continue to undertake their responsibilities," said Kabira. State House cooks are seconded by the public service commission and it was still not clear whether chef King'ori has been retired or will be transferred to another government institution by the PSC.
The head chef is the latest in a long list of senior State House staff who have unceremoniously exited State House during the Kibaki era. Some of those who have left the house on the hill in rather cloudy circumstances include former State House comptrollers Matere Keriri, Hyslop Ipu and Nelson Githinji in that order. They were either dismissed or transferred to other government departments after allegedly falling out with the First Lady. Keriri was publicly humiliated when the First Lady snubbed him as he stretched out his hand to greet her when she and the President arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after an official visit of Mombasa.
In 2007, she slapped the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet and Principal Administrative Secretary, Francis Musyimi for a slip of the tongue. The incident happened before dozens of dignitaries and invited guests during the annual Jamhuri Day garden party. Musyimi had inadvertently referred to the First Lady as Lucy Wambui. Musyimi was immediately transferred from State House. Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara is another who has faced the First Lady's wrath. In January 2008, Imanyara, accused the First Lady of of assault and threatened to move to court to sue her over the alleged incident. He said he was prevailed upon by the Meru council of elders, the Njuri Ncheke not to pursue the matter.
The same fate also befell former presidential escort commandant Benson Kibui in September 2010 following a disagreement with a member of the first family. Kibui, left the presidential escort and went to serve as the Western provincial police boos. He is now the Traffic Commandant. The same fate befell Kibui's successor, Kitili Mwendwa in July this year who was also barred from setting foot in State House for allegedly allowing a well known political activist to meet with the President at his Harambee House office. Mwendwa did not accompany the President when he made an official trip to Burundi a few days later.
In 2003 the First Lady walked out of a New Year’s Eve party when Former Vice President Moody Awori’s made a faux pas by introducing her as the Second Lady. The First Lady, who is known for directly speaking her mind, criticized one of Kibaki's trusted minister, the late Prof George Saitoti, whom she accused of being disrespectful of Kenyans and failing in ensuring security for them in 2009. The First Lady was irked when Saitoti said the tragic Sachang'wan oil tank fire in which 120 people died should serve as a lesson to wananchi not to scoop oil from grounded tankers. The First Lady lashed out at Saitoti wondering how dead people can learn a lesson. Prof Saitoti died on June 10 this year, when the police chopper he was traveling in crashed at Kibiku area in Ngong.