Sonko reshuffles Cabinet for fifth time

Changes revealed on Tuesday as acting county secretary Pauline Kahiga introduced herself to county's PAC

In Summary

• Acting county secretary Kahiga, who also doubled as Devolution executive, moved to the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries docket.

• County gets new acting attorney, Christine Ireri.  

Acting Nairobi county secretary Pauline Kahiga and Finance executive Charles Kerich before the county assembly Public Accounts Committee on June 11
SURPRISE: Acting Nairobi county secretary Pauline Kahiga and Finance executive Charles Kerich before the county assembly Public Accounts Committee on June 11

In what has become the norm at City Hall, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has yet again 'silently' reshuffled his Cabinet, barely a month after making other changes.

Acting county secretary Pauline Kahiga, who also doubled as the Devolution executive, has been moved to the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries docket.

Before being elevated to the devolution post in March, she was the chief officer for Urban Planning.

The reshuffle was revealed on Tuesday when Kahiga was asked to introduce herself to county assembly Public Accounts Committee.

This is the fifth Cabinet reshuffle since Sonko assumed office in August 2017.

Larry Wambua, who has barely settled in office, was moved to the Devolution office after being moved to the Water office from the Environment docket in April.

The Water docket has now been merged with Environment. It is headed by Vesca Kagongo who was reinstated in April after being suspended last year in September over sabotage claims.

This reshuffle comes barely a month after Charles Kerich was appointed as the Finance CEC.

The other executives include Mohammed Dagane (Health), Allan Igambi (Trade), Newton Munene (ICT and E-government), Lucia Mulwa (Education), Winfred Kahiga (Lands and Housing) and Hitan Majevdia (Transport).

To top the new surprises, Sonko gave the county a new attorney, Christine Ireri, in an acting capacity.

The position was being held by David Oseko also in acting capacity after Sonko suspended Lydia Kwamboka last year in September. 

The governor also appointed former ICT Chief Officer Halkano Waqo to be the Chief Officer for Finance in another silent move. 

Last month during the launch of the biometric system, Sonko said he will not hesitate to fire and reshuffle if they are lazy and fail to deliver services.

“I will not go back on reshuffling or firing my CECs because I have noted some are just busy playing golf instead of coming to work,” Sonko said. 

In addition to that, without naming names, Kahiga revealed to the Star that out of the 19 chief officers, only 11 are still in the office while the contracts of eight expired in April.

"They have been given letters to act in acting capacity as they wait to know their fate from the governor," she said.

The normal procedure is that chief officers are vetted by assembly committees and then approved by MCAs.

However, upon the MCAs approval, the chief officers have to wait for the official appointment letter from the governor.

"The acting letters for the eight are important because it gives them the mandate to continue being in office and run services without having a mix-up," Kahiga said.

The acting letters are always produced as evidence before the assembly committees whenever the chief officers are called to meetings.

Kahiga further said that the county will be advertising to fill the vacant chief officer position.

‘The first agenda when the new county Public Service Board comes into place will be to shortlist and forward the names to the governor for him to shortlist and send them to the speaker of the assembly for vetting," she explained.

Two weeks ago, the Labour committee vetted five candidates whom Sonko picked for the board.

The MCAs, who returned from a long recess last week, are yet to approve or reject the candidates after the report is tabled on the floor of the House.

The county secretary gave assurance that once the board sits, every office will have a substantive chief officer whether the governor chooses to renew their contract or get new ones. 

(Edited by R.Wamochie)