Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Kuria.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi (left) and Public Service CS Moses Kuria. The two cabinet secretaries each lay claim to the renovated Kenya Railways offices and key ministerial duties.

| Nation Media Group

Prime CS Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Kuria feud over office space, new roles

President William Ruto may be forced to intervene and quell what is seemingly a tug-of-war between two of his Cabinet Secretaries over the roles of their offices as well as their physical location.

At the centre of the power struggle is Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, who is also in charge of the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs and Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.

A circular issued by Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei to all Cabinet Secretaries, Attorney-General and Principal Secretaries designated physical addresses for all the ministries and State departments following the recent reorganisation of the government by President Ruto.

The reorganisation that happened last week saw some CSs, among them Mr Kuria, moved to other dockets.

The reshuffle also expanded the Office Prime Cabinet Secretary to include the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs and CS Kuria moved from the Ministry of Investments Trade and Industry to Public Service as a critical function was moved to CS Kuria’s new docket.

For instance, the Old Treasury Building along Harambee Avenue was designated to be the Office of Prime Cabinet Secretary and Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs.

The Kenya Railways Headquarters off Haile Selassie Avenue that has been undergoing renovations and previously designated for the Office of Prime Cabinet Secretary, will now be occupied by the Ministry of Public Service.

“Locating all ministerial head offices within government square seeks to foster synergy as we embark on expedited implementation of the administration’s plan for the nation— the Bottom-Up economic transformation agenda,” Mr Koskei’s circular copied to among others Mr Joseph Busiega, the Chief of Staff Office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary and the Executive Office of the President, reads.

It continued; “All ministries and state departments are directed to take note of their designated head office as well as the other ministerial head offices and to thereafter make the requisite arrangements to secure compliance.”

However, immediately the circular was issued, the Office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) insisting that Mr Mudavadi’s office will not move from Kenya Railways Headquarters as indicated in the circular by the Head of Public Service.

“For avoidance of doubt, the Office of Prime Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remains at the Railways Headquarters,” the tweet read.

Yesterday, Salim Swaleh, Head of Communications in the Office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary, told the Nation: “The tweet affirms our true position which means that the Office of Prime Cabinet Secretary remains at the Kenya Railways Headquarters while that of Public Service will be at Harambee House. It was just a small issue which has been rectified.”

For his part, CS Kuria played down the tussle for roles and the Kenya Railways office between him and Mr Mudavadi, saying that he is ready to work from anywhere including from the streets to ensure “the people of Kenya get the services they so desire.”

“If you ask me, mimi ni mtu wa kiwanja (I am a grassroots person) who likes mingling with the people to know what is happening. I am ready to work from anywhere including from the OTC bus terminus (in Nairobi) so as to serve the good people of Kenya,” CS Kuria told the Nation.

He added: “In the next three years and nine months, Kenyans will judge us by what we would have delivered and not the loftiness of our titles or the magnificence of our offices.”

Mr Kuria confirmed he was yet to report to his new ministry because Mr Mudavadi was out of the country and CS Aisha Jumwa, initially in charge of Public Service, was unwell.

“I intend to take over the new responsibilities as assigned by the President by Tuesday next week,” said CS Kuria.

The Executive Order of January 2023, had placed Performance and Delivery Management which included Public Service Performance Management Unit, State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC), Inspectorate of State Corporations and Government Delivery Services under the Office of Prime Cabinet Secretary.

But what will not please the people around Mr Mudavadi is that while quoting the Executive Order No. 2 of 2023, following the recent reorganisation, Mr Koskei in the October 5, 2023 letter, notified CS Kuria that his duties will include Performance and Delivery Management.

“By dint of the presidential action, the new ministerial portfolio features the State Department for Public Service and State Department for Performance and Delivery Management. To facilitate the ministerial transition, you are required to report to your new station immediately but in any case not later than October 9, 2023,” Mr Koskei says in the letter to CS Kuria.

With the Performance and Delivery Management function now under CS Kuria’s docket, it means that he will oversee Public Service Performance Management Unit, State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC), Inspectorate of State Corporations and Government Delivery Services, previously under the PCS.

Asked whether the reorganisation will cause friction between him and PCS Mudavadi he said that it is a job he was given “to serve the people of Kenya.”

“I did not assign myself the roles you just mentioned,” CS Kuria said, adding; “I was appointed and assigned the duties by the appointing authority who is President William Ruto.”

“These functions are enough for me and I will give them my all to help fix this country. For your information, Mudavadi is my boss. I am under him and he is a man I respect very much. I will always consult him on an issue given his vast experience in the public service,” Mr Kuria said.

The outspoken new Public Service CS nonetheless, did not shy away from pointing out that the new responsibilities make him in charge of all the 50 Principal Secretaries heading various state departments.

“I will help coach the young PSs to help them grow into people of great importance to this country,” he said.