The rise and fall of Mwangi Kiunjuri


The rise and fall of Mwangi Kiunjuri
File image of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. PHOTO| COURTESY

In Summary

  • In 2013, Kiunjuri made a comeback to the government after he was appointed the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning.
  • In 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta scolded him after monies meant to pay Maize farmers were instead, re-directed to a well-oiled cartel network leaving farmers high, dry and broke
  • And on January 14, in a cabinet reshuffle, CS Kiunjuri was fired and replaced with Peter Munya.

In October last year, ex-Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri convened a presser attended by over 40 MPs.

Ther MPs who are allied to DP Ruto’s 2022 election bid laid out a slew of conditions to be met before they could accept BBI proposals.

This was in contravention of a direct order from the president barring Cabinet Secretaries from engaging in politics.

In November,days after the BBI report was tabled, Kiunjuri convened another meeting in Embu with 47 elected leaders who cried foul at having been excluded from the BBI launch.

The leaders, with Kiunjuri firing from the hip, vowed they would be boycotting all future presidential functions claiming the president had subjected them to ridicule.

In retrospect, the bold move orchestrated the vocal CS’s tumble down to joblessness.

While attending the funeral of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua’s mother, Kiunjuri threw his weight behind DP Ruto, maintaining that Central Kenya was fully behind DP Ruto’s presidential bid.

MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, in a previous interview with a local daily, said the CS appeared to have been invoking his firing from the cabinet.

“He keeps talking about 2022 which the President, who is his boss, has warned about. He is talking of a government that will be created as though he does not believe in the current one in which he serves,” The MP was quoted as saying.

In the recent past, the CS has been lobbying to be DP Ruto’s running mate in 2022. His bid supported by among others Laikipia Woman Rep Cate Waruguru.

In 2013, Kiunjuri made a comeback to the government after he was appointed the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning: he served for two years.

Prior to his appointment, he had flunked in his quest to clinch the Laikipia gubernatorial seat.

His appointment to the Cabinet, critics say, was a new lease of life that saved him from political damnation.

At the time, political experts would claim that he was being groomed to take over Central Kenya’s leadership after Uhuru retired.

The rain however came in torrents when the Jubilee Government assumed a second term and Kiunjuri took a different path.

He was constantly accused of politicking when he should have been executing his constitutional mandate.

Severally, he responded to his critics saying that he was not willing to tone down on agitating on matters that affected the Gikuyu community.

His stance inadvertently set him on a collision course with his boss.

In 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta scolded him after monies meant to pay Maize farmers were instead, re-directed to a well-oiled cartel network leaving farmers high, dry and broke.

That maize scandal, the blotch in his career, never left and hung over his head like a cloud.

And on January 14, President Uhuru in an address to the nation, brought the axe down, cutting off Mwangi Kiunjuri.

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Story By Tonny Ndungu
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