Uhuru ministers land top jobs in private sector

Najib Balala, Ukur Yatani, Joe Mucheru

From left: Former Cabinet Secretaries Najib Balala, Ukur Yatani, Joe Mucheru and Margaret Kobia.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Former Public Service CS Margaret Kobia has gone into academia.
  • Former Education CS, Prof George Magoha, who died last week, had landed a job as a professor of surgery at Maseno University.

 A number of Cabinet secretaries who served in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government have been snapped up for top jobs, as others take time off to adjust to life in retirement.

In interviews with Nation, the once powerful individuals have now adopted new ways of life, with some of them reviving personal and family businesses that had suffered in their absence.

Former Public Service CS Margaret Kobia has gone into academia.

“I cooled off from a very busy office schedule, rested and socialised in the month of November and December while giving back to the community.

I was and continue to be the chancellor of St Paul’s University and a trustee of the University of Nairobi (UoN) Foundation. In my local church, I mentor the youth to reach their full potential. From this week, I have gone back to academics as adjunct research professor in the area of governance, diversity, inclusion and equity,” said Prof Kobia.

Former Education CS, Prof George Magoha, who died last week, had landed a job as a professor of surgery at Maseno University.

On Sunday, a Goldman Sachs-backed South African financial services start-up appointed former ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru as the president of the company to rev up its expansion plans on the continent.

“We are honoured to be able to welcome Joe to Jumo. He brings an invaluable perspective given his experience as an entrepreneur, Google executive and regulator,” said Jumo founder Andrew Watkins-Ball.

Former Tourism minister Najib Balala was the first to land a plum job — just four days after handing over to his successor.

Fauna and Flora International (FFI), an international NGO dedicated to protecting threatened wildlife and habitats, announced Mr Balala’s appointment as vice president in November 2022.

Mr Balala served as CS for nearly 12 years, in both the Mwai Kibaki administration and that of Mr Kenyatta.


He also serves as the chair of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) commission for Africa.

Former National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani is engaged in charity work and farming. He said life outside the office has been enjoyable and fulfilling, saying that he gets enough rest and he can sleep when he wants, unlike when he was in office and would work late.

“Now I drive myself any time to where I want. People who used to call me for favours have reduced significantly. Now I am only getting normal cases,” he said.

For former Transport CS James Macharia, it is time to pay closer attention to his health as well as the wellbeing of his family, alongside taking care of his private business.

Former Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has also taken the same path, saying that whatever he is doing now remains private.

However, former Lands CS Farida Karoney and her Trade counterpart Betty Maina remained guarded on what they were up to, but said they were enjoying some rest before taking the next course of action.

“I am taking much needed rest and still need some more,” said Ms Maina.

Mr Eugene Wamalwa, the former Defence CS, has joined active politics and is always in the Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja One Kenya public rallies.

Join politics

When Mr Odinga was issuing an eight-point ultimatum to President William Ruto at Kamukunji, Nairobi, on Monday, Mr Wamalwa was one of the leaders who accompanied him. He is the patron of Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya (DAP-K), an affiliate of Azimio.

In late December, Mr Wamalwa disclosed that he would run for president in 2027.

Former Water CS Sicily Kariuki, who resigned in February last year to join politics, is fully back in the private sector, running her consultancy firm. She is also engaged in charity work.

“I am firmly back in the private sector. I am not going to look for a job. I am currently very busy,” said Ms Kariuki.

Mr Raphael Tuju, who served as Jubilee secretary-general, and later as CS without portfolio, is reported to have gone back to private business.


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