Kenyatta sacks tainted cabinet members, wages war on corruption

President Uhuru Kenyatta announcing his new cabinet nominations Tuesday. Deputy President William Ruto looks on

President Uhuru Kenyatta announcing his new cabinet nominations Tuesday. Deputy President William Ruto looks on

A day after laying out his comprehensive roadmap to rid his government of endemic corruption, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has changed his cabinet sacking all five Cabinet Secretaries who have been implicated in corruption scandals.

President Kenyatta underscored the changes to his government were long overdue and that they will enable the Jubilee government to enhance efficiency as they deliver on the campaign pledges.

The President’s decision to alter his cabinet comes days after the embattled Cabinet Secretary for Devolution, Anne Waiguru resigned due to public and political outcry over alleged corruption scandals that had been dogging her and her ministry. She has been replaced by former Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri.

In Tuesday’s reshuffle, Kenyatta fired four other Cabinet Secretary that have not been cleared by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), and one who has since been cleared,  following their implication in several corruption cases.

The five Cabinet Secretaries are;  Charity Ngilu of Lands, Kasungu Kambi of Labour, Felix Kosgei of Agriculture, James Kamau of Roads and Energy CS Davis Chirchir (has been cleared by the commission).

“The changes are expected to achieve four principle objectives; to enhance the efficiency of the public service, to ensure accountability of public officials in the discharge of their mandate, to guarantee the accessibility of public officers to those that they serve and review the effectiveness of government projects and programs for public good,” the president said.

The new cabinet secretary nominees are: Kericho Senator, Charles Keter appointed to head Energy, former assistant minister Mwangi Kiunjuri, Planning and Devolution ministry, Malindi MP Dan Kazungu appointed to the Ministry of Mining, while Professor Jacob Kaimanyi moved from Education to Lands, Willy Bett to head Ministry of Agriculture, Joe Mucheru to head Ministry of ICT, and Cleophas Mwinzi to head Ministry of Health.

Kenyatta also increased the number of ministries from nineteen to twenty and that of the departments from current twenty six (26) to forty one (41).

In his speech the president said “Some of the departments were far too large and indeed difficult to administer and some in some cases were not in align with the government objectives.”

President Kenyatta called on the Kenyan National Assembly to expedite the vetting process of the new cabinet so the team “can get down to work as soon as possible.”

Today’s cabinet changes come 24 hours after Kenyatta  labeled the scourge of corruption tainting his administration a national security threat tasking his national intelligence services to join in the aggressive fight against graft.

“In order to streamline Government and thereby also reduce opportunities for theft and wastage, we will immediately enact the Parastatal Reform Bill. This is the least we can do to reflect the prudence that the Constitution enforces on us,” President Kenyatta said on Monday.

Kenyatta and his government have been struggling to combat corruption, and the vice has tarnished the East African nation abroad. Last week, more than 50 government officials were rounded up in an anti-corruption sweep and they are currently facing corruption-related charges.

This year alone, nearly 400 high ranking government officials have been nabbed and arraigned in court on corruption charges.

Kenya’s out of control corruption has captured attention of foreign diplomats and leaders. Two weeks ago 11 heads of diplomatic missions in Kenya resolved to sanction individuals implicated in corruption cases. The diplomats led by US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec agreed subject ‘corrupt” officials to international asset freeze and travel bans.

Also on his recent trip to Kenya, US President Barack Obama urged the authorities to conduct “public trails and prosecutions” to demonstrate to the Kenyan people that the government is serious about the country’s “biggest impediment” to growth.

CABINET SECRETARY NOMINATIONS:

Foreign Affairs – Amina Mohamed

Mining – Dan Kazungu

Sports, Arts and Culture – Hassan Wario

Water and Irrigation – Eugene Wamalwa

Environment – Prof Judy Wakhungu

Devolution and Planning – Mwangi Kiunjuri

National Treasury – Henry Rotich

Education – Fred Matiangi

Transport and Infrastructure – James Macharia

Agriculture: Willy Bett

Interior – Joseph Nkaissery

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs – Sicily Kariuki

Energy and Petroleum – Charles Keter

Health – Cleopha Mailu

Labour and EA Affairs – Phylis Kandie

Defence – Raychell Omamo

Attorney General– Githu Muigai

Lands – Jacob Kaimeny

Industrialisation – Adan Mohamed

ICT – Joe Mucheru

Tourism – Najib Balala