Uhuru swaps departments as focus turn to Big Four agenda

This image taken on September 1, 2016 shows construction of civil servants' houses at Shauri Moyo Estate in Kisumu. The government has proposed to build 200,000 social housing units and 800,000 affordable units by 2023. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Housing is one of the Big Four President Kenyatta’s delivery pillars that also has food security, affordable healthcare, and manufacturing.
  • Petroleum docket was domiciled under Energy but now it has been merged with that of Mining.

An analysis of various key ministries reveals that there has been swapping of State departments and parastatals that have said to have attracted considerable lobbying even as the President’s Executive order is awaited to provide clarity.

In 2013, the order was issued five days after the Cabinet was sworn in, spelling out the full ministry name, dockets and parastatals under each Cabinet secretary.

State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu was non-committal on when the crucial document will be released to the cabinet.

“There is no time frame,” he said in response to Sunday Nation enquiries. 

The most notable is the housing and urban development department, one that Land CS Farida Karoney was vetted on, only for a Principal Secretary to be named as under James Macharia’s Transport and Infrastructure docket.

“We can do it. We just need to enable Kenyans to buy a house for the same amount that they are paying rent, and have the National Housing Corporation resume loaning people in rural areas to build homes,” Ms Karoney told the National Assembly when she was vetted, revealing that she had been briefed as having to manage the crucial housing docket.

HOUSES
Housing is one of the Big Four President Kenyatta’s delivery pillars that also has food security, affordable healthcare, and manufacturing.

Under the housing pillar, and which will become a critical pillar in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term, the government has proposed to build 200,000 social housing units and 800,000 affordable units by 2023.
The Sh2.6 trillion project is as ambitious as it is lucrative in terms of contracts, and the interests it will generate.

Also at the centre of a storm is President Kenyatta’s second pillar of food security after he moved the irrigation docket from water to Agriculture, now under Mwangi Kiunjuri.

DAMS

After the re-organisation, it is still unclear who between Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui or Mr Kiunjuri will oversee the completion of the 57 multibillion dams running into billions of shillings.

The Sh19 billion Thiba Dam project in Kirinyaga County, Sh6.8 billion Northern Water Collector Tunnel in Murang’a, Sh35 billion Mwache Dam in Kwale, and the Sh63 billion Thwake Dam in Eastern are among the projects launched under the Ministry of Water, which now appears to have been moved to Mr Kiunjuri’s control.

Some of the dams have been sources of political tensions in the areas they are being constructed.

President Kenyatta has priorities for his second term.

TRADE
The irrigation docket also oversees the controversial Galana Kulalu one-million acre project whose modest results in the last four years have not convinced Kenyans.

“The President is not taking chances with the Big Four. That is why he wanted to have Agriculture and Irrigation together to achieve a wholesome food security plan, and housing under infrastructure so as to tap into the expertise to get affordable housing,” a source aware of the president’s thinking told the Sunday Nation.

Under Mr Kiunjuri will be Livestock (Andrew Tuimur), Crop Development (Richard Lesiyampe), Agriculture Research (Hamadi Boga), with fisheries and irrigation PSs to be named soon to make the biggest number of departments under one ministry.

Interestingly, newspaper advertisements from the “Water and Irrigation ministry” were still being published last week.

A move in 2016 to change the international trade docket from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to that of Industrialisation and Trade brought friction on who was to control the diplomatic aspect of international trade.

FUNCTIONS
It took State House through Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua to write to the two Cabinet secretaries, Amina Mohamed and Adan Mohamed of Foreign Affairs and Industrialization, respectively, to resolve the simmering issue.

In his letter, Mr Kinyua rescinded an earlier transfer of functions related to economic cooperation and commercial diplomacy to the Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation and returned them to Foreign Affairs.

Careful not to have the same mistake, President Kenyatta has now placed the international trade docket firmly under Foreign Affairs ministry headed by Dr Monica Juma.

Petroleum docket was domiciled under Energy but now it has been merged with that of Mining.

The new CS John Munyes was appointed probably to cool down his kinsmen should they protest the passage of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill.

OIL REVENUE
The Bill was shelved in early 2017 but was republished late last year and it provides that the local community will only be entitled to five per cent of the crude oil revenue, the county government 20 per cent and the national government 75 per cent.

But perhaps the biggest loser will be Charles Keter, a close confidant of both the President and Deputy President William Ruto.

Having joined Parliament alongside Mr Kenyatta as elected MPs in 2003 where they teamed up with Mr Ruto who had joined in 1997, Mr Keter has been party to the duo’s big political moments.

It therefore came as a surprise when he was left only with Energy docket that deals with production and distribution of electricity and denied the crucial petroleum docket.

The wildlife docket, which was previously under the Environment ministry, has been moved to Tourism.

MUNYA

That means Najib Balala will now oversee the critical Kenya Wildlife Service parastatal.

Former Meru Governor Peter Munya will now oversee the Northern Corridor development, the trillion shillings development project that was under ministry of Infrastructure.

Mr Munya will also oversee the East African Affairs docket.

When he was named Devolution Cabinet secretary, Eugene Wamalwa joined the ministry that has now lost the Planning department to Henry Rotich’s Treasury.

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