What you need to know:
- The CS is among the few individuals whose names have been mentioned as likely compromise presidential candidates.
- On Friday, the CS was non-committal on his plans, only saying that he is focused on his current assignment and that only God knows about the future.
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has come out to talk about his future political plans, expanded role in Cabinet and reports that he tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The CS is among the few individuals whose names have been mentioned as likely compromise presidential candidates.
In an interview on Friday, the CS was non-committal on his plans, only saying that he is focused on his current assignment and that only God knows about the future.
“I don’t know,” he replied when asked whether he sees himself as the person to succeed President Kenyatta.
“Only God knows about our future because he plans our lives. For now I have an assignment from the President and I will do it with all the fibre in my body to deliver.”
To clarify his view, the CS turned to the bible, borrowing heavily from the parable of talents to explain his future career path once his term as the CS ends.
“Even before I ask for a bigger thing in 2022, I know Kenyans will be asking me about the big job I am holding now and what I did with it. They will want to know what I did with the little I was given before they trust me with something bigger.”
“If you cannot be trusted with little job you are holding you can’t ask for more [the presidency],” he said, pointing out that he has specific instruction from which he must deliver before 2022.
Apart from his role as the CS, Dr Matiangi also chairs the powerful National Development Implementation Coordinating Committee, a position that analysts have likened him to being the first among equals in the Cabinet.
Created through the Executive order No. 1 of 2019, the position is influential because it gives him the power to chair a sub-committee of the Cabinet, making him a prime minister of sorts.
While Dr Matiang’i describes the position as a demanding responsibility, which he has executed with much pleasure, critics and fans alike see it as the ultimate stepping stone to the top of government at the right time.
GO TO WAR
He used an analogy about the initiation of Kisii young boys to make his point. During such season, boys were given a spear to symbolise the young men’s readiness to go to war.
“There was one naughty boy who used his spear for all manner of things. Whenever a rabbit came by, he would throw. There are times he could target it on a tree. The point is that when the real war came, his spear was bent. He could not fight.”
“I am focused. I am not going to turn left or right. Focus is the difference between success and failure in life,” he continued, adding that the effectiveness of his spear in 2022 will depend on how sharp it will be.
On reports that he had been hospitalised after testing positive for Covid-19, the CS accused some social media users of manufacturing information to humiliate him. While he shrugged off the rumours, he empathised with his family.
“I feel for my family. My innocent wife and children who are private citizens living their own lives but they have to endure these kind of rumours. It is unfortunate they have to pay a heavy price because one of them is in public service.”
He said he would be the first to go public should he test positive of the disease whose numbers continue to surge across the country.
“If I was sick of Covid-19, I will be the first to go public with it because there is nothing to hide. There is nothing wrong with a Cabinet secretary getting sick. We are human beings and we get sick all the time. We are not heavenly,” he said, revealing that he has tested three times in the past three months.
He said he tested because the risk of exposure is high and interactions are intense for people doing the kind of work he does.
“I cannot pretend that I can’t get the infection. There is nothing strange with a CS getting sick but I find this funny because the perception appears to be that once we get into public office we can’t get sick. It is not true.”
He, however, declared that the rumours had been engineered by those people who are unhappy with his work and who are keen to distract him from delivering on his mandate.
“These are distractions. They want me to sit there and sulk so that I don’t achieve the objectives given to me by the President. Focus is key and they know I will fail once I get distracted.”