Is Ruto Being Short-changed by Uhuru in Top State Appointments?
If we have to go by a draft document titled: ‘Taking Control of Government (Operation 2 Containment),’ which was allegedly signed by Mutahi Ngunyi et al. on 2nd February 2013, then we can say there are cracks in the Jubilee Coalition, with regard to State appointments in high profile jobs. The document charted a strategy to “tame” Deputy President William Ruto, once Uhuru Kenyatta won the presidency. Aware that the Constitution grants Ruto executive powers, and that they signed a pre-election agreement for a 50:50 power sharing deal, the strategists argued that: “a number of things that have been agreed upon are not realistic and may render our man powerless and reduce him to a figure head.” Therefore, the draft called for measures to manipulate Ruto’s political enemies to fight him, and to revive alleged corruption cases against him. But these have not been applied so far.
However, two significant moves by Uhuru’s side of Government have shown that the alleged Ngunyi document is being implemented, albeit differently. During Ruto’s absence at the ICC trial since September, Uhuru appointed quite a number of his Kikuyu folk to key Government positions. Further, Ruto’s financial budget has been transferred back to State House. According to an MP in his political party (United Republican Party), “The Office of the DP cannot hire anyone without approval from the Presidency and can not buy tissue paper unless it is approved by the same office. We have no idea what this means.”
There is a general feeling that under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s leadership, Kenya is drifting back to the past in certain aspects. The so-called ‘digital leader’ is behaving like a real ‘analogue’. Recently, somebody mentioned in the Kenyan media that Uhuru is a personification of the past three presidents, especially whenever he appoints people of his tribe to top public jobs. The 50:50 power sharing deal seems a myth because out of the recent and upcoming appointments, there are many from Mt. Kenya region and specifically his Kikuyus, while on Ruto’s side, there is a better reflection of the Kenyan face; not necessarily from his Kalenjin tribe.
Charles Hornsby’s book chapter on ‘The Kikuyunization of Kenya under Jomo Kenyatta’ is reminiscent of the current Kikuyu appointments. “Although the State continued to talk of Kenya as one nation, and to de-emphasize ethnicity in its public statements and policies in land, service delivery and jobs, the unifying rhetoric of nationhood concealed a less palatable truth. The 1970s saw the entrenchment of Kikuyu power via a web of both formal and informal networks. As with the security forces, the senior civil service was increasingly Kikuyu dominated. The crucial posts of provincial commissioners, for example, were held by a small group of conservative insiders, more than half of whom were Kikuyu from 1967 until Kenyatta’s death, and three of whom were sons of chiefs. Appointments to statutory boards and parastatals showed the same trend.” Hornsby adds: in “popular imagination”, Jomo Kenyatta was not only “the benevolent dictator but simultaneously ‘the chief architect and patron of the Greater Kikuyu Community’.” (In: Kenya: A History Since Independence pp.254-258 by Charles Hornsby, 2012).
Kikuyunization under Uhuru Kenyatta
Since September, the following Kikuyus have been appointed by Uhuru:
1. Nancy Gitau – Chief Political Advisor; 2. Joseph Kinyua – Chief of Staff and Head of the Civil Service; 3. Arthur Igeria – Head of the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration Board; 4. Mutahi Ngunyi – Senior Political Advisor 5. John Mututho – Chairman NACADA; 6. Lee Kinyanjui – Chairman National Transport Authority.7. Kiragu wa Magonchi – Chairman Teachers’ Service Commission (Uhuru nominee).
Further, it was reported that a committee appointed by Uhuru to investigate whether to repatriate Somali refugees in Daadab and Kakuma camps following the Westgate attack, consists of Kikuyus with only one Kalenjin. They are: 1. Daniel Njuguna Waireri-Chairman; 2. Joyce Wanja Mburu-Vice Chairperson; 3. Wamuyu Wang’undu; 4. Gladys Njoki Muhia; 5. Nyokabi Githiura; 6. Charles Karanja; 7. Elizabeth Nyaguthi; 8. Stephen Kiraithe; 9. Athanas Gichuki Mwathe; 10. Christine Agatha Waitherero; 11. Hosea Kimkung Maiyo (Kalenjin); 12. Dr. Githinji Wamwoka; 13. James Lee Mukora; 13. Joe Nyaga: Presidential adviser on regional cooperation (Embu).
According to media reports, Uhuru and Ruto will soon appoint political dinosaurs and retired Government officials, to head parastatals. They include Kenyatta’s uncle George Muhoho (Mama Ngina’s brother) who has been “eating” in Government since the 1970s, when he quit being a Catholic priest. Apparently, Uhuru is reading from former president Mwai Kibaki’s script who recycled his former Kikuyu workmates from the 1960s, into Government.
Former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura is to be named the chairman of the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSET)- (Meru, Mt. Kenya).
Former Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director George Muhoho, Uhuru’s uncle, is poised to take over at Kenya Power – (Kikuyu).
Former Kengen CEO Eddy Njoroge is now the informal energy adviser to Uhuru at State House – (Kikuyu).
Veteran Aldai politician Sammy Choge is likely to be made the new chairman at Kengen. Choge is also the Nandi County chairman for Ruto’s URP party – (Kalenjin).
Former Isiolo South MP Abdul Bahari is slotted to take over the chairmanship of the National Social Security Fund board. He was an MP in the last Parliament (North Eastern).
Former Kikuyu MP Lewis Nguyai, a close Uhuru ally, is likely to become the chairman of the Kenya Leather Authority – (Kikuyu).
Former Kamukunji MP Simon Mbugua is to be named the chairman of Kenya Betting and Control Board – (Kikuyu).
Former minister and close Ruto ally, Chirau Mwakwere has been as the chairman of the Kenya Ports Authority. Mwakwere is a key URP figure and the Jubilee point-man at the Coast.
Joe Kibe is set to be the next chairman of the Kenya Pipeline Authority (Kikuyu).
“Uhuru was forced to revoke the appointment of John Mututho (Kikuyu) as chairman of Nacada as the National Assembly was not involved. On Thursday Uhuru nominated Muthutho again and it will be up to the National Assembly to accept or reject him.
To sit on the board as a director, one will need a Bachelor’s degree, be a member of a professional body and to have served in a senior management position for at least six years. Parastatal CEOs will also require a Master’s degree, be a member of a professional body, have ten years’ experience in a relevant field, and at least five years in senior management. The proposals also bar any person who has worked with a state corporation in the past five years from sitting on its board.” (See: The Star November 9, 2013).
Kikuyunization under Mwai Kibaki