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November 19, 2018

Gema demands CS, PS jobs, say they’re not ‘tissue paper’

Gema community members Patrick Kabundu, Peter Gichamba, Evans Murungaru and Francis Kamau in Mombasa yesterday / BRIAN OTIENO
Gema community members Patrick Kabundu, Peter Gichamba, Evans Murungaru and Francis Kamau in Mombasa yesterday / BRIAN OTIENO

The Gema community in Mombasa wants the Jubilee administration to consider them for Cabinet Secretary or PS positions.

Member Patrick Kabundu yesterday said the Mombasa Gema is tired of being used “like tissue paper”.

The community has joined other residents who have been lobbying to have some of them included in the UhuRuto Cabinet or given plum jobs.

Gema is an association of the Kikuyu, Meru and Embu ethnic groups.

Its members yesterday said they have been sidelined too long, despite going against the tide to campaign for Jubilee in a region that is predominantly pro-NASA.

They said they deserve to be rewarded for their efforts and loyalty.

“We’ve worked harder than our colleagues in Central, to sell Jubilee at the Coast. This is a NASA stronghold,” Gema Mombasa coordinator Evans Murungaru said at a press conference.

 Organising secretary Peter Gichamba said, “Despite threats, we came out in large numbers, especially in the October 26 presidential rerun, to vote. Eighty per cent of the votes Jubilee got in Mombasa were from Gema.”

Kabundu said, “Ruto promised us rewards. We ask that he keeps his promise.”

Their demands are likely to complicate President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto’s plans to reorganise government.

Everyone wants a slice.

For example, Abdulsalaam Kassim shelved his Mombasa Senate ambitions in favour of former Mombasa Deputy Governor Hazel Katana.

He has been lobbying for a CS or PS position and  using his own resources to sell the Jubilee agenda in the hope of being rewarded.

Other Jubilee bigwigs who have been lobbying for positions include Suleiman Shahbal, Ananiah Mwaboza, former MPs Gideon Mung’aro, Zainab Chidzuga and Mustafa Idd.

Shahbal was Jubilee’s pointman in Mombasa. He lost the governor race.

Former Mombasa Senator Omar Hassan is also said to be interested in a CS position but has not commented publicly.

The most intricate horse-trading for the August 8 election losers may revolve around Cabinet positions and principal secretary jobs.

Uhuru and Ruto plan a retreat this month to come up with a team of Cabinet ministers, PSs and other top government officials.

Uhuru is keen on his legacy, while his number two has his eyes set on the 2022 presidential race.

With a divided country, the two must balance rewarding their cronies, employing professionals and ensuring they bring on board people from diverse ethnic groups to ensure the face of Kenya is represented.

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