Mt Kenya CSs' meeting as dangerous as DP's assassination talk

A meeting of Central Kenya ministers creates an impression that they are in the Cabinet to represent their respective regions

In Summary

• Four Cabinet secretaries were allegedly named as the masterminds of the plan. They denied such a plot existed.

• The national leadership should take the claim against Ruto with utmost seriousness. The country’s stability may be affected dangerously by these events.

Industrialisation CS Peter Munya
Industrialisation CS Peter Munya

This week, the country has been on the edge after talks of Deputy President William Ruto’s assassination emerged.

It is alleged that a letter was authored and addressed to President Uhuru Kenyatta about the planned heinous threat to his principal assistant. Ruto’s supporters, especially those from his Rift Valley backyard lost no time in demanding for immediate and thorough investigations into the matter.

Four Cabinet secretaries were allegedly named as the masterminds of the plan. They denied such a plot existed.

The assassination of any leader is a serious political matter. That it is planned against a sitting Deputy President becomes a matter of political proportions and risk having ramifications that will reverberate across the entire nation and region. The claim came hot on the heels of a stinging allegation that Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju and former Limuru MP George Nyanja planned to raise funds for the rebuilding of the burnt Kiambaa Kenya Assemblies of God Church in Uasin Gishu.

The viral leaked audio is quite sensational and has been cannon fodder for both the Kieleweke and the Tangatanga teams. Tuju has refused to give any public explanation, citing the risk of being misquoted through manipulation of recording his message. He said he was out of the country.

Three Cabinet secretaries, Joe Mucheru (ICT), Sicily Kariuki (Health) And Peter Munya (Trade and Industrialisation) were on Monday summoned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to record statements. They, however, maintained they would only do that after the DP records a complaint.

 They were accompanied by PSs Andrew Kamau (Petroleum), Joseph Njoroge (Energy) and Andrew Wakahiu (head of the Presidential Delivery Unit).

The formal complaint has not been forthcoming as the DP reportedly refused to engage the DCI officer sent by George Kinoti.

The national leadership should take the claim against Ruto with utmost seriousness. The country’s stability may be affected dangerously by these events.

First, it is irresponsible for the CSs to meet under the banner of Mt Kenya region to discuss government agenda. It creates an impression that they are in the Cabinet to represent their respective regions. Even if that was the reason they were appointed, they are expected to conduct themselves with decorum in government.

They should demonstrate fidelity to Chapter Six of the Constitution. As ministers, Kenyans expect them to ensure equitable public service regardless of where they come from.

In the conduct of their affairs and discharging their duties, the CSs are expected to pay attention to the whole country without undue focus on any area. They are never expected to give any special favours to any persons, group or region. The Constitution clearly spells out how the government should deal with any person, group or regions considered to have been marginalised. There exist provisions within the law that guide the government on the distribution of public resources to address historical injustices against equity. It is the responsibility of the Cabinet to enforce these provisions.

The Executive is led by the Presidency and comprises Cabinet secretaries and Principal secretaries, who are appointed by Uhuru Kenyatta. Individuals may be recommended to the President by various quarters but once appointed, they serve the country. That is why when they take the oath of office, they affirm their allegiance to the President, the Republic and the Constitution.

It is against this background that the explanation offered by CS Munya on behalf of his colleagues smacks of undermining the government. They do not have to meet in a hotel in private as CSs from Mt Kenya region for them to understand how best to assist their backyard. They should rely on government officials reports to write Cabinet papers for formal consideration and approval. Their decision to discuss government matters outside laid down protocol betrayed their true intentions. The dockets they hold cut across the nation and they risk being accused of favouritism and discrimination.

In the same vein, the information regarding the possible assassination of the DP should have been handled with more care. It is a sensitive issue and of national security and regional stability. It appears that no adequate investigations were done prior to the announcement. In fact, one gets the impression that the DP’s camp let this matter to the public domain out of frustration and exasperation with the system.

It seems the investigative agencies were not moving fast enough. The flip side of it is even more scaring. Could it possible that elements within our borders hatched a plan to eliminate the DP and escaped the radar of the national security apparatus? The country spends inordinate amounts of resources in the security system. It would be criminal on their part that a scheme of such magnitude would be hatched in spite of the elaborate security Kenyans see deployed every day. Who within the security system unearthed this heinous plot and with whom and how was it shared? How was this left to politicians to release to the public? Do Kenyans deserve to be briefed on the steps so far taken by the government to address such a serious breach to national security?

The absence of answers to these questions will most likely cause despondency among citizens. The very fabric of the country’s nationhood is gravely threatened. It would be worse if it turned out that the whistleblowers had no tangible evidence and chose to play politics with fake news or information from a fake source.

Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen has taken on himself the responsibility of responding to Munya and his colleagues. His comments have on the contrary confirmed fears that he speaks more for the Tangatanga team than Parliament.

With Munya, they are now the face of discordance in national leadership excluding the Judiciary. It is now but given that Uhuru’s Cabinet is not as united as during the first term. However, that is not an excuse to tinker with the country’s stability and national unity. The line between national cohesion and civil strife is very thin and can easily dissipate. Those serving the government in all the three arms should consider taking their responsibilities with more statesmanship. Remember that Kenya has witnessed numerous assassinations related to perceived political disputes and differences since Independence.

Lest we forget, Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya, JM Kariuki, Owiti Ongili, Alexander Muge, John Ouko, Odhiambo Mbai, and George Saitoti in that order are suspected to have been victims of assassination. Their murders remain unresolved to date. Therefore, assassination in Kenya is not child talk and must be treated with utmost seriousness for the benefit of the nation.