Technocrats edged out as politicians dominate Uhuru’s Cabinet


Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba with President Uhuru Kenyatta
Former Budalangi MP chats with President Kenyatta during a pat event

In Summary

  • Cabinet now has 10 politicians; Simon Chelugui, Rashid Achesa, John Munyes, Ukur Yattani, Peter Munya, Najib Balala, Mwangi Kiunjuri, John Munyes, Eugene Wamalwa and Raphael Tuju.
  • Six out of the 10 new faces in the Cabinet are all politicians.
  • In 2013, Deputy President William Ruto was categorical that the only politicians who would be in the Cabinet would be himself and the president.

President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled his new Cabinet on Friday, January 26 and as many had speculated technocrats made way for politicians.

During the unveiling of the 2013 Cabinet, Deputy President William Ruto was categorical that the only politicians who would be in the Cabinet would be himself and the president.

Five years down the line, it was argued that the establishment needed political steel to counter the opposition’s onslaught and so it seems the 2013 technocrats have lost the flag to politicians.

While there are technocrats still in the government, the most notable nominations are names of politicians who have been rewarded for their loyalty.

During the campaign trail, the president promised to reward popular politicians supporting his presidential bid with State jobs and true to his word, he heftily rewarded loyalists who lost elections.

He nominated former Marsabit governor Ukur Yattani, former Meru governor Peter Munya, former ODM youth winger Rashid Mohammed Achesa and Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju to the Cabinet.

He fired 7 non-performing ministers but gave them a soft landing as envoys. Most of the fired had been plucked from the private sector when they joined the Cabinet in 2013.

On July 26, 2017 supporters of Yattani and current Marsabit Governor Mohamud Mohamed clashed at Moi Girls, the venue where the president was scheduled to campaign.

Yattani had just lost the Jubilee Party ticket and the two were locked in a fierce battle for the county’s top seat.

The rally turned violent and the president said; “It is you people of Marsabit who will elect the governor and whoever loses between these two gentlemen will be accommodated in the government.”

Similarly, Munya made a U-turn and decided to back the president 9 days after declaring his support for opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The then Party of National Unity (PNU) leader while decamping to NASA accused the president’s party of rigging him out in the August 8 election in favour of current governor Kiraitu Murungi.

Six out of the 10 new faces in the Cabinet are all politicians; John Munyes (Former Turkana Senator)- CS Petroleum and Mining, Simon Chelgui (Former Baringo gubernatorial aspirant) – CS Water, Rashid Achesa (Former ODM Youth Wing leader in Western Kenya) – CS Sports, Ukur Yattani (Former Marsabit Governor)– CS Labour, Peter Munya (Former Meru Governor) – CS EAC and Raphel Tuju (Secretary General, Jubilee Party) – CS (without portfolio).

However, what caught the eye of many is the nomination of former Budalangi MP and former Nairobi Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh in the newly created position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS).

The flamboyant Ababu who is also the Labour Party leader stormed the NASA wave in Western region and declared his support for the president, he is now CAS Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He had relinquished his position as ODM Secretary General in July 2016 citing frustration from the party’s leadership.

Shebesh, a fierce President Kenyatta loyalist is now CAS Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender.

 

 

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Story By Wahome Gitonga
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