Uhuru rewards Jubilee poll funders and political allies
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto used their first reshuffle since assuming office last year to reward their financiers and allies in last year’s General Election.
Some of the notable figures who made a triumphant comeback after a long absence from public limelight include former Foreign Affairs minister Sam Ongeri, who stood by the Jubilee coalition in the last campaign against a strong Cord wave, which swept Kisii region.
Prof Ongeri lost to Mr Chris Obure in battle to represent the county in the Senate. He will be the country’s Permanent Representative at the UN Habitat, Nairobi.
Former Finance minister Robinson Githae lost Kirinyaga gubernatorial elections to Mr Joseph Ndathi. The President seemed to have revisited his history books to hand Mr Githae a lifeline, posting him to Washington, DC where he will be the country’s ambassador.
The appointment of diplomats to Washington and London are being seen in the light of renewed warm relationship with US and Britain. Mr Lazarus Amayo will be the new ambassador to London
Former Transport minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere landed a job as Kenyan envoy to Dar es Salaam. Like Prof Ongeri, Mr Mwakwere braved ODM wave in the coastal region to drum up support for Mr Kenyatta.
AGAINST THE TIDE
In appointing former Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo as Kenya’s ambassador to Turkey, the President was paying back. Mr Kilonzo stood by Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, (President’s ally) at a time the whole of Ukambani voted for Wiper party.
Mr Kilonzo said he lost the Kitui gubernatorial race for his decision to stick with the President’s coalition which was unpopular in Ukambani region.
“Yes we’ve been allies with the President and I’m happy he’s finally rewarded my support for him. I promise to serve the country with dedication and integrity,” he said.
Mr Ruto was also not left behind in rewarding his allies. Former Moyale MP Mohamud Mohammed who belongs to the DP’s URP party was appointed to head the Kenyan mission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Mining CS Najib Balala also appeared to have flexed his muscle in the appointments given the fact that his longtime ally Sheikh Mohamed Dor also landed a job as the ambassador to Muscat.
Sheikh Dor’s nomination and that of Ms Sophie Kadzo Kombe as Lusaka ambassador are likely to be interpreted to mean an attempt by the Head of State to wrestle Coast from Cord.
A former diplomat and university lecturer Prof Maria Nzomo said although it has taken a while for the President to fill vacant positions in diplomatic circles, the delay has enhanced the level of confidence the West has with the Jubilee administration.
An official at the Kenyan embassy in Washington who wished not to be named said by taking a former Finance minister there, President Kenyatta was sending a message that he takes the bilateral relations between Kenya and the US seriously.
“Mr Githae was in the Kibaki government at a time when major Vision 2030 economic decisions were made. There can’t be a better choice for Washington, which has committed itself to work with Kenya on many fronts,” she told the Saturday Nation by phone.
Residents from the Coast region welcomed the appointments saying a good of their people had been appointed.
Chairman of the Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council Sheikh Juma Ngao said it was encouraging that President Kenyatta had brought diversity in his appointments.
Lamu County Woman Representative Shakila Abdalla said there was nothing wrong with appointing politicians who had lost elections to such positions.
Technical University of Mombasa chairman of Business and Social Studies Dr William Kingi said though the appointments had been made to fill some positions, the criteria used was not satisfactory.
Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya Secretary General Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa lauded the President.
Reported by Mazera Ndurya Bozo Jenje, Kitavi Mutua, BMJ Muriithi, Muchemi Wachira and Justus Wanga.