Uhuru plans to fast track BBI report findings as legacy beckons

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the Nation on the Coronavirus pandemic from State House, Nairobi on June 6, 2020.

Photo credit: File | PSCU

What you need to know:

  • Sources say the Head of State is likely to seize the opportunity to “put in order his administration to secure his legacy that is almost being eaten up by the pandemic.”
  •  Senate Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata defended the President’s move to send the Cabinet on recess, saying it will boost productivity.

President Kenyatta’s legacy projects are the main drivers of the Cabinet changes he is likely to make after 11-day recess, inside sources have told the Nation.

On the political front, the President is also said to be laying ground for the receipt and execution of the BBI report.

His March 2018 ‘handshake’ partner Raila Odinga on Saturday hinted that the BBI process would resume after they receive the report from the committee Mr Yusuf Haji chairs.

Yesterday, the Nation established that Mr Kenyatta is considering seizing the opportunity during the inaugural Cabinet working recess to plan how to reorganise his government and put in place rapid measures to fast-track implementation of his Big Four agenda.

The plan unveiled in 2017 and pillared on food security, manufacturing, universal health coverage and affordable housing has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and Mr Kenyatta is racing against time to achieve its goals. Sources say the Head of State is likely to seize the opportunity to “put in order his administration to secure his legacy that is almost being eaten up by the pandemic.”

Some changes

“Certainly there will be some changes to fast-track the full implementation of the projects. You have also noticed the rift in the ruling Jubilee, and the Head of State must have a team that is committed to his agenda,” a senior government official said yesterday. Reorganisation of government, he said, remains inevitable and “consequently, his new friends must also be shown that their interests are taken care of for the sake of peace and unity of the country.” State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena-Mararo, however, said the Cabinet recess is a normal undertaking.

“It is a working recess. It is normal for Cabinet to go on working recess three times in a year – April, August and December,” she told the Nation.

This, Ms Mararo said, happens across the Commonwealth.

Her sentiments were later echoed by the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua who, in a statement, said: “The Cabinet calendar is in tandem with the practice within the Commonwealth and heralds a new tradition in the management of Cabinet business.”

Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju in a recent exclusive interview with the Nation said President Kenyatta is working on a governance structure that is accommodative of all Kenyans as the country heads towards the 2022 elections in a bid to cement his legacy.

Weak link

With the knowledge of hindsight on how the country’s politics has been a weak link and a recipe for chaos every electioneering cycle, the President’s party – Jubilee—has been reaching out to the opposition to craft a unitary system that accommodates everyone.

“The political process in our country is in transition and requires a lot of State craft skills to be able to deal with ethnic interests, regional interests and be able to accommodate even those who are supposedly members of the opposition,” Mr Tuju said.

On Sunday, Senate Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata defended the President’s move to send the Cabinet on recess, saying it will boost productivity.

The President’s move however, mirrors one by his predecessor Mwai Kibaki’s in 2005 when he dissolved the entire Cabinet following government’s loss in the 2005 constitutional referendum.

In that year, Mr Odinga and his troops were dropped from the Cabinet. In June, Mr Kang’ata confirmed to the Nation the “impending cabinet reshuffle.”

“Yes, indeed there will be a cabinet reshuffle. CSs and PSs who do not add any value to the government will be axed,” Mr Kang’ata said.

jjochieng@ke.nationmedia.com