Two CSs, top civil servants to quit and run for seats


Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and Water CS Eugene Wamalwa at a meeting on drought and food security in arid and semi-arid counties on January 12 / JACK OWUOR

Resign yourself. It’s time to call it quits if you want to run for office.

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A host of ambitious public servants — Cabinet Secretaries, PSs, hundreds of heads of government agencies and parastatal chiefs, as well as teachers — must rush to resign by February 8, six months to the polls.

CSs Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution) and Eugene Wamalwa (Water and Irrigation) and several top civil servants are resigning next month to run for office.

The Cabinet Secretaries have prepared resignation letters to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Reconstitution of the 20-member Cabinet is imminent, also because the government hopes Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohammed will be elected African Union chairperson at the end of this month.

Civil servants planning to run for election must resign by February 8, six month before the election on August 8.

The Public Service Code of Conduct bars serving public officers from seeking political positions. Failure to resign in time is cause for disqualification by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

This does not apply to the President, Deputy President, governors, deputy governors, MPs and MCAs.

The Elections Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016, requires public servants to leave office early because of a tight political parties nominations calendar.

For instance, ODM had indicated it wold hold primaries in February to allow time to resolve post-nomination disputes.

This means civil servants seeking ODM tickets will have to resign soon — the deadline has already been extended.

Election laws require political parties to give the IEBC the names of persons contesting in their primaries and the dates, at least 21 days before nomination day.

The dates and the names are to be published in the Kenya Gazette within seven days after the commission receives the names, because only party members are allowed to contest and vote in primaries.

Resignation season is upon us.

CS Kiunjuri, who unsuccessfully ran for Laikipia governor in 2013, aims to unseat incumbent Joshua Irungu.

CS Wamalwa, who earlier had declared he will run for Nairobi governor, has since decided to run for Trans Nzoia boss. He hinted he will leave office before February 5, as directed by Public Service head Joseph Kinyua.

“It is not true I have already handed in my resignation, we still have some days. That is when we will make the announcement,” Wamalwa told the Star on the phone yesterday.

Four Principal Secretaries are expected to resign at any time.

Also stepping down is former MP Jebii Kilimo, chairperson of Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board.

Kilimo ran unsuccessfully for Marakwet East MP on a TNA ticket. She plans to run against MP Kongogo Bowen.

Former CS Francis Kimemia is to quit as chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation and run for Nyandarua governor.

Former Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey plans to step down as chairman of the Tourism Fund for a run against Nandi Governor Cleopha Lagat.

Former Roads minister Franklin Bett, chairman of Agricultural Finance Corporation, must resign to run for the Kericho Senate seat.

Omingo Magara, eyeing the Kisii Senate seat on an ODM ticket, will relinquish chairmanship of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

Former Information and Communication minister Samuel Poghisio, running for West Pokot senator, will resign as chairman of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania Ali Chirau Mwakwere is expected to tender his resignation, as he seeks the Kwale governor’s job.

Musa Sirma of the Agricultural Development Corporation and Kalembe Ndile of the Water Services Regulatory Board will step down before they can try to recapture the Eldama Ravine and Kibwezi parliamentary seats, respectively.

President Uhuru’s political adviser Joshua Kuttuny and Ruto’s deputy director of communications Emmanuel Tallam will also resign. Kuttuny wants to recapture his Cherangany parliamentary seat, while Tallam wants the Nandi Hills seat of vocal MP Alfred Keter.

Ruth Mwaniki, Chief Executive of the Export Promotion Council, says she wants to enter politics, but hasn’t said which seat.

Others to watch are former Local Authority minister Musikari Kombo who chairs the Water Services Trust Board; former Planning minister Henry Obwocha (Privatisation Commission); former Security Minister Julius Sunkuli (Industrial and Commercial Development Board) and Raphael Wanjala (Nzoia Sugar Company).

Former Moyale MP Mohamud Mohamed Ali will resign from the National Hospital Insurance Fund in a bid to recapture his seat. Former aide de camp of President Mwai Kibaki, Col Geoffrey King’ang’i ,will resign as chairman of the of the National Cereals and Produce Board to contest the Mbeere South seat.

Some public servants have already tendered their resignations, including Ombudsman Otiende Amollo, chairman of the Commission on Administrative of Justice. He’s eyeing the Rarieda seat held by vocal MP Nicholas Gumbo.

The resignation pace was set early last year by former Energy minister Ochillo Ayacko, who quit his plum parastatal job as the chairman and chief executive of the Nuclear Power Agency. He plans to run for Migori governor against incumbent Okoth Obado.

In the counties, Dr Edward Serem, member of the Nandi executive committee, will quit to run for Uasin Gishu governor against Jackson Mandago.

Four Embu executives have also resigned to seek county positions.

In the past, politicians have quit influential positions, hoping to win election, only to lose and fall into obscurity.

Notable among them is former Education PS James ole Kiyiapi resigned to run for President in 2013. Little has been heard from him since then.

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