CABINET RESHUFFLE

Ruto allies accuse Uhuru of double standards, skewed selections

Axe that fell on Kiunjuri should have felled all CSs who have appeared on public political podiums, they say

In Summary
  • Three other CSs have been active in politics and they haven't been removed.
  • You cannot blame the failures of a ministry entirely on a Cabinet Secretary, DP's allies say.
President Uhuru Kenyatta when he kicked off the issuance of 40,000 title deeds to residents of Nakuru County on January 14, 2020.
President Uhuru Kenyatta when he kicked off the issuance of 40,000 title deeds to residents of Nakuru County on January 14, 2020.
Image: PSCU

Deputy President William Ruto’s allies have accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of applying double standards in sacking of Mwangi Kiunjuri as Agriculture CS.

The leaders on Wednesday also assailed Uhuru for alleged skewed appointments in the government changes announced by the head of state on Tuesday.

“In the future, we would not like to see him apply double standards. If CSs are being fired because of being involved in politics, then his axe should fall on everybody,” Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said.

 

The President sacked Kiunjuri and moved Trade CS Peter Munya to the Agriculture docket. Uhuru also dropped Treasury CS Henry Rotich who had been suspended because of a graft case involving the Arror and Kimwarer dams.

Kiunjuri has been leading Ruto's 2022 campaigns in the Mt Kenya region and has been at the forefront in attacking the BBI and the handshake between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga on March 9, 2018.

His very public involvement in politics and frequent attacks on BBI — as well as many problems in the Agriculture sector — could have cost him the job. They include problems in the tea, coffee, dairy, maize and sugarcane sectors.

But Cherargei, a Ruto confidant, charged that the axe that fell on Kiunjuri should have felled all the CSs who have been active on public political podiums.

“An individual like Mwangi is being fired and it is being alleged that he is involved in politics yet there are three CSs who have been in politics,” Cherargei said.

He cited Interior CS Fred Matiangi, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and Munya, the former Trade CS elevated to be Kiunjuri's successor.

Kimilili MP Didmus Baraza read politics Kiunjuri's sacking, arguing that he could not be blamed for all the problems that have dogged the Agriculture docket.

 

You cannot blame the failure of a ministry entirely on a Cabinet Secretary. Principal Secretaries are the ones involved in the running of a ministry,” he said.

Baraza criticised Uhuru for not considering ethnic and regional balance in the changes he made in government. 

“Why should I be happy with the appointments? Kenya is not Central and Nyanza alone. They [the changes] were as fake as the Handshake,” the MP protested.

Firebrand Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa accused the President of using the BBI and the handshake to exclude certain regions from the government.

She claimed that the Coast region was overlooked in the reshuffle and latest changes. Jumwa questioned why the regions should be compelled to support BBI when they are not benefitting from it. Najib Balala, the CS for Tourism and Wildlife, remains the only Cabinet Secretary from the Coast.

“There was the handshake and we are told it is about inclusivity. Then came BBI, which we were told is about the unity of this country. But I want to say I am shocked. Are Mijikenda not included in the handshake and BBI and handshake?” she asked.

Besides changing the Cabinet, the President also appointed new PSs and CASs and moved others in the shifts that caught the country by a surprise.

However, Soy MP Caleb Kositany said he did not think the Deputy President was targeted by the sacking of his ally Kiunjuri, as some have suggested.

“Kiunjuri was a Cabinet Secretary and thereby a civil servant. He was not removed from any political position,” he said.

Kositany said he was pleased with the appointments, adding that farmers would be the biggest beneficiaries if President Kenyatta's reforms are realised.

He said, however, they will speak up whenever they think farmers are being frustrated by the government.

Ndaragua MP Jeremiah Kioni said, “Those who have been given jobs should get down to work.”

However, speaking to the Star on the phone, a section of the Kikuyu Council of Elders said Kiunjuri got what he deserved.

Secretary general Peter Munga accused Kiunjuri of frustrating the President's Big Four development agenda and said he has no one but himself to blame for the sacking.

“He frustrated the President on a number of occasions. The cartels the President talked about thrived in his ministry,” he added. 

Munga further said Kiunjuri should not have engaged in blatant political activities as a Cabinet Secretary. “He had the audacity of organising a press conference with MPs from Central Kenya who are critics of the President,” the Elder said.

He added, “We were wondering why he was being tolerated because he should have been fired a long time ago.”