Big Five team to drive Big Four

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and President Uhuru Kenyatta during a recent visit to DCI headquarters. /COURTESY
Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and President Uhuru Kenyatta during a recent visit to DCI headquarters. /COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta has tasked five key people to deliver his Big Four agenda.

Apart from elevating Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Treasury CS Henry Rotich, the President has also given sweeping powers to head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, his deputy Nzioka Waita and Interior Principal Secretary Kibicho Karanja.

In this arrangement, Matiang’i will deal with mostly Cabinet Secretaries and will be the overall coordinator, with Kinyua heading his secretariat.

Rotich will deputise Matiang’i and will ensure there is money for the Big Four projects. Apart from Matiangi’s ‘Mr Fix It” record, the president has a good relationship with Rotich. Uhuru worked with Rotich at the Treasury when the President was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance.

Kibicho working with Waita will ensure the provincial administration and all other government agencies deliver, as the President wants. The President’s term will end in three years and seven months.

“In terms of protocol the arrangement is a bit awkward because Kinyua is technically Matiangi’s boss, while Waita is Kibicho’s boss in a way. But the President believes the five can work together and deliver his legacy agenda,” a senior official at Harambee House said.

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Waita had been running the Presidential Delivery Unit but some government departments were not cooperating with his team. The unit has since been expanded, with its officer’s spread all-over the country with the mandate to monitor government projects.

Kibicho’s role is to manage the revamped provincial administration where all regional and county commissioners have been given power to monitor and ensure implementation of all government projects.

The county commissioners, according to the new Executive Order, will have to inspect and approve any government project before any payment is made.

The President, according to people close to him, will now focus on the Building Bridges initiative and the fight against corruption.

The Building bridges Initiative was born in on March 9 last year when Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga shook hands and declared a truce after the hotly contested elections and bitter aftermath. The two have formed a close relationship, with Uhuru even visiting Raila’s home in Bondo.

The head of state, according to multiple sources, plans to tour the country with Raila to promote the handshake and rally the country to support the fight against corruption.

People close to the President have told the Star that Kenyatta was worried that his development agenda was getting derailed by the early 2022 campaigns that his Deputy William Ruto has been engaging in.

The head of state was also worried that his Head of Public Service was not assertive enough to ensure the government agenda was delivered within the shortest time possible.

Kinyua, 68, wields a lot of power and chairs Cabinet meetings in Uhuru’s absence, though the minutes are not recorded as official cabinet minutes.

He and Matiang’i will have to rally the Cabinet and focus on the delivery of development the president wants.

Kinyua is also expected to follow up on implementation of presidential directives and ensure that Cabinet resolutions are implemented.

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