In January this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed Ambassador Ukur Yatani as National Treasury Cabinet Secretary. This was soon after Ukur’s predecessor Henry Rotich was sacked over the Sh22 billion Kimwarer and Arror dams corruption scandal.
Opinion in his backyard and across the country is divided about his leadership credentials. According to North Horr MP Chachu Ganya, Amb Yatani successfully coordinated state business, managed government resources, maintained law and order and directed disaster relief operations among others during his time as a DC.
“He was one of the best performing governors. The kind of development he initiated during the four years he served as governor, has seen governors from other counties trouping to Marsabit to benchmark,” Mr Ganya said.
While some will tell you he is a hero, others claim he is a man who practices nepotism in every office he holds.
“Ambassador Yatani achieved nothing at the Labour docket. He failed to solve the numerous industrial actions posed by the teachers, doctors, nurses, among other government employees,” Herman Manyora, a Linguistics lecturer at the University of Nairobi says.
Who is UKUR YatUani?
He started his career in the public service as a District Officer (DO), rising to become a District Commissioner (DC) in 2002 before plunging into the murky waters of politics.
He served as North Horr MP from 2006 to 2007 after the death of the Bonaya Godana in a plane crash. He was then appointed as Kenya’s ambassador to Austria, serving until 2013.
In the March 2013 General Election, he was elected Marsabit’s governor on an ODM ticket but lost to Mohamud Ali in the subsequent August 2017 elections. He was later appointed to Cabinet as Labour minister by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
His reign as governor was tainted by tribal clashes pitting various communities in the county. The clashes claimed many lives and displaced thousands.
Deputy President William Ruto, while appearing on a television show, threatened to have the county suspended if Amb Yatani failed to step in and end the clashes.
Looking at the list of people he employed at the Labour ministry, there is no doubt that CS Yattani creates tribal segregations everywhere he goes.
On November 15, 2019, his wife Dr Gumato Yatani sparked controversy when she landed two government appointments. She was appointed to chair the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) council by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, as then-Industrialisation minister Peter Munya, now at Agriculture, also appointed her a member of the task force on standards and quality assurance. Kenyans criticized the appointments coming at a time when the country was reeling from unemployment.
LIST OF APPOINTEES
- Joseph Lekuton (National Social Security Fund)
- Roba Duba (Agricultural Finance Corporation and National Hospital Insurance Fund)
- Sarbo Hassan Marsa (National Council for Persons With Disabilities)
- Isako Galgalo (National Labour Board)
- Pius Yatani Wario (Street Families Rehabilitation)
- Sora Guyo (Equalisation Fund)
- Nasra Ibrahim Ibren (Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority
- Peter Molu Ibrae (Taskforce on Review of Framework on Child Protection)
- John Segelan (National Assistance Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons).
- Nuria Gollo (National Council for Children’s Service)
- Ali Gorai Badu (Advisory Committee on Trafficking in Persons)
- Christopher Galgallo (National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya)
- Mohammed Ordofa (General Wages Council)
- Lokho Abduba Umuro (General Wages Council).
- Chris Guyo Huka as his Technical Adviser,
- Hussein Adan as Senior Administrative Secretary
- Halima Ali Ungaye as Social Protection Officer
- Galgalo Dida Yattani.
- Jarso Gollo,
- Sharamo Ukur Mamo,
- Shuna Galgalo Dido,
- Amina Dokata Barisa
- Amina Mohammed Muhamud
- Lelo Bonaya Kanne
- Stephen Sharamo Wario.
- Ado Mamo Sharamo
- Barille Yatani Halakhe
- Guyo Barako Yattani
- Habiba Guyo Tari
- Bokayo Sora Adano
- Salesa Halakhe Ruricha
- Adano Jarso Mekona
- Liban Roba Duba.
On his defense, Soon after being tabbed by the Head of State to lead the National Treasury, CS Ukur Yatani distanced himself from a list of names indicating that he is behind the employment of dozens of individuals from his family to various government positions.
“The names are available for authentication from the Public Service Commission. Some of them are no longer working while others are interns. Others were working in government before I was appointed to the Cabinet,” a statement sent from his office said.
A section of leaders from northern Kenya also defended Mr. Yatani from allegations that he has been practising nepotism in every office.
“The CS is a victim of clan rivalries and is now being fought due to his insistence that all pending bills owed to contractors by the national and county governments are paid,” Mr Roba Elema, a prominent businessman and elder from Marsabit, said yesterday at a press conference in Nairobi.