What Uhuru night letter told CSs in graft list
The move to force the four Cabinet Secretaries named in a report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to step aside came after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed his Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua to inform them that they were in the report. Sources close to State House told us Kinyua wrote to the four separately directing them to step aside and that the letters were delivered late on Friday night.“The four and the other state officers named have already been issued with the letters and are not expected to report to office tomorrow,” said the source.
On Friday while addressing the press in Mombasa, Agriculture CS Felix Koskei had said that he was not ready to vacate office since he had not received official communication from the appointing authority. The four, Koskei, Michael Kamau (Transport), Davis Chirchir (Energy) and Kazungu Kambi (Labour) formally stepped aside and are expected to face the anti-corruption agency to be notified of their charges.
On Friday while addressing a crowd in Juja, Uhuru reaffirmed that there are no sacred cows and that his recent move is just the beginning of an unwavering war against corruption. In their place, the President appointed Cabinet Secretaries in other dockets to serve in an acting capacity.
Industrialisation’s Adan Mohamed will replace Koskei, Health CS James Macharia will hold fort for Kamau, Treasury CS Henry Rotich will act for Chirchir while Defense CS Ambassador Raychelle Omamo will take the place of Kazungu. The first to step aside was Koskei, who took the move before the announcement was made in State House even as he maintained his innocence. Kamau and Chirchir were to follow suit and similarly maintained their innocence. Senior officers and Principal Secretaries have also informed the President that they have complied with his directive.
They include Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia, Principal Secretaries Mutea Iringo (Defence), Nduva Muli (Transport), Patrick Omutia (Mining) and James Teko (Water). Chief of Staff in the office of the Deputy President Marianne Kaittany, Investment Secretary Esther Koimet and Deputy Head of Mission, Kenyan Embassy in South Africa Ambassador Jane Waikenda are also to step aside.
The announcement was made by State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu. In regard to State Corporations, the respective State Corporation Boards have been instructed to urgently convene Special Board Meetings, to appoint acting officers for all named Chief Executives and other officers.
Officers affected include Agricultural Finance Corporation Chairman Patrick Osero, Geothermal Development Company Managing Director, Dr Silas Simiyu, and Nzoia Sugar Company Managing Director, Francis Oyatsi. Others are National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Managing Trustee, Richard Lang’at, National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation Acting Chief Executive, Evans Ngibuini, Kentrade Chief Executive Alex Kabuga, Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director Ms Lucy Mbugua, Kenya Pipeline Corporation Managing Director Charles Tonui as well as Tourism Fund/Catering Levy Trustee Chief Executive Allan Chenane.
The President has since reminded Kenyans that this is a moral fight for the very soul of the nation and that nobody should use it as an opportunity to either engage in negative politics or act in manner likely to detract us from this noble cause.
“As the President told Parliament, it is not his place to determine the guilt or otherwise of the State or Public Officers named in the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Report but that the time has come to send a strong signal to the country,” said Esipisu. He added: “Clearly the President has drawn the line on corruption and expects all State and Public Officers to abide by Executive Order No 6 in which he gives express directives in regard to the intolerance for this vice in government.” It is yet to be seen whether elected members named in the report will take a similar move.
The Governors have dismissed the directive saying that the President does not have the mandate to tell them to step aside. They claimed that the President was making a political statement that has nothing to do with fighting graft. Addressing Parliament on Thursday, Uhuru spoke strongly against corruption, acknowledging it as one of the biggest obstacles to the country’s shared vision of security, growth and prosperity.
He reminded Kenyans that every constitutional office holder, state officer and public servant is bound by the values enshrined in the Constitution and are required to uphold the highest standards of personal integrity in the discharge of their official functions. He asked officers named in the Confidential Report prepared by the Ethics and Anti – Corruption Commission to step aside to allow the Commission to carry out and complete its investigations.