Tourism Minister Najib Balala was fired from the Cabinet while three first term MPs were promoted to full minister in changes agreed between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga at a meeting on Monday.
MPs allied to Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto appeared to have been the beneficiaries of President Kibaki’s side of the coalition in the reshuffle, with the youthful Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa taking over the Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs docket from outspoken minister Mutula Kilonzo who has been moved to Education.
Mr Balala, the Mvita MP, who has had a strained relationship with the Prime Minister, was replaced by fellow Coast MP Danson Mwazo of Voi.
Mr Mwazo was an assistant minister for Livestock.
Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau, becomes the minister of Nairobi Metropolitan after Mr Njeru Githae, who has been acting at the Treasury, was confirmed Finance minister.
Mr Kamau, an ardent supporter of Mr Kenyatta from Murang’a county, was a member of the Parliamentary Service Commission.
His appointment is seen as a replacement for Environment Minister John Michuki, from the same county, who died last month.
Mr Moses Wetang’ula now moves to the Trade ministry and will be replaced by Prof Sam Ongeri in Foreign Affairs.
Mr Chirau Mwakwere was transferred to the Environment ministry.
Mr Wetang’ula rejoined his ministry last year, after a one-year stint in the cold following allegations of corruption in procurement of the Tokyo Embassy.
Mr Kibaki re-appointed him to the Cabinet even before investigations into the allegations by a Parliamentary committee were made public.
Mr Balala announced last week that he would quit ODM and contest the elections on the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ticket, accusing his party’s leadership of dictatorship.
Prof Ongeri has had a complicated tenure at Education, with scandals unearthed on his watch.
The biggest involved an estimated Sh4.6 billion reported stolen from the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP).
The programme stretched from 2005 to 2009, with the government and donors pooling resources to support free learning programmes in the country’s public schools.
Prof Ongeri resisted calls to resign.
Although the minister was not directly linked to the malpractices happening in his docket, those calling for his resignation said he had to take political responsibility since he was the “accounting officer in charge.”
But since 2009, Prof Ongeri has defied the calls and said junior officers implicated in the scandal “will carry their own cross.”
This morning, Prof Ongeri was expected to officially open a national conference at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
He was to be accompanied by his counterpart in Higher Education Science and Technology, Prof Margaret Kamar, as players in the industry to discuss and validate the report of a task force he formed to align education with the Constitution.
Since the changes take effect immediately, it is unlikely that Prof Ongeri will be at the conference.