President Uhuru Kenyatta did a cabinet reshuffle in announcements made at state house Mombasa on Tuesday, he brought in new faces, switched a couple of cabinet secretaries but majorly he kicked out Agriculture CS, Mwangi Kiunjuri.
As politicians, Kiunjuri’s relationship with the president goes along way, to way back when they both worked as members of the cabinet in former President Mwai Kibaki’s administration. They were buddies, but may be not too close. In any event, Uhuru is the big guy.
When he became president in 2013, Kiunjuri was not so much in the picture at the beginning burt four years ago the president brought him in to head the agriculture docket. In Kenyan politics that should call for ‘near sycophancy’ kind of respect.
But politics can be a nasty game with crazy shifts of allegiance. Jubilee won its way back to government after fresh polls in October 26th 2017; the handshake came the following year on March 9th, and that was the game changer.
The handshake got the opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta working together. This got Jubilee divided into two ‘warring’ factions led by the president and his deputy William Ruto.
Kieleweke is pro president and Tangatanga is the team behind DP William Ruto. Kiunjuri is in Team Tangatanga and now with BBI, 2022 and corruption politics playing in ‘full glare’ of the cameras, Kiunjuri has always been in the team opposing the president and the ODM leader Raila Odinga, who like the exiled Miguna Miguna would tell you, is singing hosanna to Uhuru.
It started with the maize scandal that Kiunjuri as the head of the agriculture docket could not give a convincing response on. The president warned him to give answers in public; he even did it in their vernacular. That with some functions being taken from his office were humiliating.
From that point Kiunjuri became ‘a marked man’ he worked under the spotlight and he knew that coupled with his strong stand with the DP, he could not miss the axe.
He was in brown shoes which are considered not so official when his sack came; he made calls with a forced smile before addressing the press. He couldn’t believe it was real so he was trying to put on a brave face but he had known he was going to be jobless, he saw it coming.
How could he survive if he had publicly shown the president that his allegiance is with Ruto? That is a servant that can’t be trusted, ‘pigwa kalamu’.
The competition is now real; the divide between the president and his deputy is a complete rift with Jubilee Party elections coming up in March. Muscles will be flexed and the battle to see who will end up as the ‘controller’ of the ruling party will be fierce.
But Ruto is that guy who can catch you with your beards when you are snoring. With his ‘church harambee spirit’ and ‘generosity’, the hustler has bought and locked in considerable support from The President and Baba’s backyard.
In fact just a month before Christmas, he was all guns out in Baba’s ‘ODM bedroom’. He commands serious support in Uhuru’s Mt. Kenya backyard.
He inherited the whole backyard from President Kibaki, how is he going to retire ‘chest thump’ that he united the country through the handshake with Odinga when his own backyard is cracked and divided?
So while kicking out Kiunjuri he brought in some ‘backyard’ faces from the cold. Former Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe was nominated the secretary for health docket.
Former Meru governor Peter Munya was moved in to Kiunjuri’s position among other changes with coffee and dairy farmers being gifted with goodies.
The president had to gift his backyard that Ruto is taking over and Odinga sitting pretty to inherit. Plus, BBI forum is doing merry – go – round, it should be in Kakamega this coming weekend.
BBI is a product of the handshake that should find The President’s backyard ‘appearing’ united but it must be noted that BBI has put people in slots they fit in as much as the reshuffle was about capturing the Big 4 agenda and struggle to mean business in 2020.
Kinunjuri has been given time to fully do his ‘general’ work in the ‘hustler’s army’, he will join the likes of Kimani Ichung’wa, Ndindi Nyoro, Alice Wahome and the rest while The Health docket and been reorganized, may be, to capture Big 4’s UHC (Universal Health Care) but majorly to appease Mt. Kenya .