CSs shaking in their boots amid Uhuru appraisals

Tuesday November 28 2017

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu appears before the senate Health committee on February 14, 2017 at Parliament Buildings. Those lobbying to have Dr Mailu replaced are understood to base their arguments on the dismal showing by Jubilee in the August 8 elections. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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Ahead of his swearing-in for a second and final term today, President Uhuru Kenyatta has been quietly carrying out an end-of-term review, appraising the men and women serving in his Cabinet.

Insiders with an understanding of the process have told the Nation that some cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries have found the going tough in the course of the meetings with their boss.

Questions are reported to revolve around how much a CS has achieved based on the budgetary allocations over the period they have been in charge, as well as visible progress.

VETTING

This is also tied to the pledges made in the Jubilee Party manifesto ahead of the 2013 General Election and the hurdles that have come up.

During the meetings, the CSs were reported to have undergone a sort of vetting by explaining in detail the work done.

The President started the meetings at his Harambee House office after the repeat election on October 26 and was further invigorated when the Supreme Court last Monday threw out the petitions challenging his victory in that election.

He has met the sector sub-committees on Energy and Water, as well as the economic team.

ECONOMY

There have been four meetings with the team charged with an economic revival plan following the lengthy electioneering period.

It comprises eight CSs whose ministries the President has singled out as central to his agenda.

Led by Treasury CS Henry Rotich, the team has his colleagues Charles Keter (Energy), Dr Fred Matiang’i of both Education and Interior ministries, Industrialisation’s Adan Mohamed, Joe Mucheru of Information Communication Technology, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi (Lands), Health’s Cleopa Mailu and Willy Bett of Agriculture.

The team also has technical experts led by Treasury PS Kamau Thugge and include Senior Adviser on Social Sectors Ruth Kagia and Deputy Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita.

LOBBYING
In its four meetings, the team has presented options on accelerating economic transformation, especially focusing on programmes that can make Kenya globally competitive while directly positively impacting ordinary Kenyans.

“The primary goal has to be to lift the lives of ordinary Kenyans,” President Kenyatta told the group at Treasury Building in its third meeting.

The President is understood to be planning a shake-up of his Cabinet.

Some CSs appear to have been aware of this and have intensified their public engagements, seeking visibility in the press as they try to advertise their achievements.

CAMPAIGNERS
The Head of State also faces the hard task of rewarding his backers and those who contributed to his victory in the two rounds of the presidential election.

He is also grappling with the policy issue of whether to split key ministries.

With preparations under way to start exporting crude oil — the Bill on exploration and revenue sharing has been returned to Parliament — there has been speculation that the Energy ministry could be split.

The Transport and Infrastructure ministry has also grown into a large one, overseeing the development of roads and the ongoing construction of a new railway linking Mombasa and Malaba.

VOTES
Among the CSs understood to be under pressure is Dr Mailu, who has been in charge of the Health docket since December 2015.

Those lobbying to have Dr Mailu replaced at Afya House are understood to base their arguments on the dismal showing by Jubilee in the August 8 elections.

While the President’s re-election campaign team was reported to have been aiming for 18 per cent of votes in Ukambani, it had a dismal 8.24 per cent, managing a paltry 27,388 actual votes against opposition leader Raila Odinga’s 90.57 per cent, or 301,126 votes.

The argument against Dr Mailu has been that he did not deliver much despite being the senior-most officer in the region in the Kenyatta government.

There are also reports of concerns by the Executive regarding the recurrent strikes by government workers and the role of the Labour ministry under Phyllis Kandie.