See the PSs with multi-million shilling in riches

Career public servant Mary Wanjira Kimonye, who was swornin last Friday, has joined the league of super-rich principal secretaries in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Administration.

Ms Kimonye, who took over the Public Service and Gender docket, put her financial worth at Sh273.8 million.

The former principal administrative secretary at the State Department of Public Service told MPs in the vetting committee that out of her huge financial fortune, Sh31.1 million comprised liabilities while Sh242.8 million was net wealth.

Ms Kimonye, who has served for 21 years in public service, did not provide details of the sources of her wealth to the National Assembly’s Committee on Administration and National Security, which vetted her suitability for the principal secretary’s position.

She is among six new principal secretaries who were sworn into office after Parliament approved their nominations last week.

The Public Officer Ethics Act requires all State officers to submit their wealth declaration forms once every two years.

Section 26 of the Act requires the officers to submit their declarations together with those of their spouses and dependent children under the age of 18 years.

The full financial disclosure is meant to allow the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission to detect and prevent corruption when top public servants are serving in office.

Ms Kimonye’s wealth is more than 15 times that of Enosh Onyango Momanyi, the new principal secretary for Physical Planning, whose worth is Sh17.8 million.

Until his appointment, Mr Momanyi had served as secretary of Urban and Metropolitan Development at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development from 2015.

Ms Kimonye’s fortune also dwarfs that of her new peers Julius Jwan and Ambassador Simon Nabukwesi who took over the Vocational and Technical Training and University Education and Research dockets respectively.

Dr Jwan, who started his teaching career in 1990 and is the former chief executive of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), put his financial net worth at Sh80.3 million.

Dr Julius Jwan

Documents tabled before Parliament show that Ambassador Nabukwesi, who served as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Canada from 2009 to 2013, is worth Sh76 million.

He was the director of the Europe and Commonwealth Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also served as director of the Foreign Service Academy Institute from 2013 to 2019.

Another career diplomat, Johnson Mwangi Weru, who took over as principal secretary for Trade and Enterprise Development told the House team that he was worth Sh30 million.

In 2013, the 24 principal secretaries declared a combined wealth of Sh1.7 billion with the richest being then Transport PS Wilson Irungu whose net worth was Sh374 million.

At the time, Land PS Aidah Munano had the least wealth at Sh6.2 million.

By Business Daily

Moi said he felt disappointed and let down by his own children

The late president Daniel Moi was fondly referred to as ‘professor of politics’ by his admirers given his genius and sometimes ruthless methods of neutralising the opposition, and his unpredictability.

But away from that larger than life imagine, he like any other mortal had his fair share of struggles in social life and politics.

Broken Family: Moi told British author Andrew Morton in his 1998 biography, The Making of an African Statesman, that he felt disappointed and let down by his own children.

In the book, Moi said he was frustrated that apart from Gideon and June — his adopted daughter and niece to his estranged wife Lena — his other children did not appear in public when he was president to give him moral support.

With Lena absent, and Moi taking the country’s presidency in 1978, the teenage children lacked a mentor. Andrew Morton wrote as much: “This combination of absence and sternness produced the inevitable backlash, and as adolescents, the boys rebelled against their father’s austere moral code.”

In many occasions, it was the presidential guards who would discipline the children, according to Moi’s biographer.

Separation: The fact that there was no first lady throughout his presidency sometimes meant odd moments whenever visiting heads of state were accompanied by their wives.

Those close to Moi said while he downplayed it, the separation affected his life and relationship with the children who sometimes blamed him for causing their mother’s departure.

Robert Ouko’s death: The assassination of the Foreign Affairs minister in 1990 blighted Moi’s image at home and abroad. And claims that he may have personally supervised the killing is said to have hindered conclusive investigations until the time of his demise.

Being Jomo Kenyatta’s vice-president: Accounts are abound of Moi having to endure mistreatment from Jomo’s handlers with a former Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner said to have even slapped him in one of the occasions.

He is said to have attended many ‘cabinet meetings’ conducted in Kikuyu.

Then came change the Constitution when a cabal around Jomo after he started showing signs of illness plotted to repeal the laws which made it automatic that a vice president would succeed his boss in the event a president dies in office.

It took the intervention of the Attorney-General Charles Njonjo to stop the march when he declared that it was treasonable to imagine death of a president.

Julie Ward’ death: Despite numerous contestations, the Mois never got over claims that Jonathan Moi (now deceased) killed Julie Ward while in a tour of Maasai Mara in 1988.

In 2012, Mr John Ward, Julie’s father, accused Jonathan of plotting the murder of the photographer.

 “Our government sensing that Moi didn’t want this to be a murder decided to help him in the cover up. He (Jonathan) raped and killed my daughter. That’s why the government covered up the matter,” Mr Ward said.

Attempted Coup: A push by mutinous soldiers to seize power from him in August 1982 was another low moment for the second president of the republic.

Analysts believe that a defining moment, Moi adopted dictatorial tendencies after the attempt which was thwarted at formative stage.

Struggling economy: The country’s economy almost came to its knees under Moi’s watch.

While this is largely attributed to poor management on his side, the numerous sanctions by international players such as the IMF also had a crippling effect.

Insecurity: Said to be almost paranoid, Moi was overly concerned about his security and almost believed that someone was always after his life.

Cataract operation: Failing eyesight saw him disappear from the public for about one week in 1995.

As the public speculated on his whereabouts, Moi was in Israel for the operation.

Bomb blast 1998: Coming towards the tail of his presidency, the US embassy bombings not only shook the country but the region.

It fundamentally changed Kenya’s diplomatic position and relationship with the West for good.

By Justus Wanga

The daring woman who felled Waititu

Ms Cecilia Mbugua sat pensively in the Ombudsman’s office. Her flashy pink suit portrayed a woman of means but her facial expressions betrayed her inner feelings.

Ordinarily, many would think that after a triumph over a county bully would make her rejoice but that was not the case for the widow. And as the Commission on Administrative Justice chairperson Florence Kajuju rose to hand over title deeds, Ms Mbugua made one request: Keep my file open.

After winning two land cases against two Kiambu County administrations, Ms Mbugua seems sure that more people will go after her Sh100 million plots located in the heart of Thika town.

This is the widow who brought down one of the country’s most powerful governors.

During the impeachment of Mr Waititu, ward reps accused the governor of unlawfully acquiring and occupying Ms Mbugua’s prime plots.

MCAs argued that Mr Waititu promptly facilitated the irregular transfer of the land totalling 0.135 hectares in January 2018 to Ms Esther Wamuyu Nyatu, who they claimed is his “common law wife”.

Ms Mbugua was forced to transfer her land to Esther Nyatu. An investigation and interrogation of the governor by the Ombudsman revealed how he threatened and manipulated Ms Mbugua into handing over her land.

The widow owns five plots in Thika town, and in 2013 sought approval of the county to develop the land. The approval was granted but later rejected after county officials claimed the land belonged to the Thika Jua Kali Association, even though Ms Mbugua was in possession of title deeds.

She went to court challenging the county and she won the case in 2016.

In a December 2017 meeting with the newly elected Mr Waititu, Ms Mbugua was told she would be granted permission to develop her property on condition that she gave up two plots. Ms Mbugua was forced to accept the deal.

The plots — Thika Municipality/BlockXI /877 and Thika Municipality/ BlockXI/878 — were transferred to Ms Nyatu and the investigation by the Ombudsman showed no bank slip or land sale agreement had been drawn to show how the land came to be in Ms Nyatu’s possession.

Mr Waititu, when interrogated by the commission, admitted that he was the one who facilitated the transfer.

“Our investigators interviewed a number of county land officials who participated in the transfer of the plots. The officers indicated that Ms Esther Nyatu’s details, including copies of ID, KRA pin and passport photograph were given to them by the governor and that the transfer of the properties to her name was directed by the governor,” Ms Kajuju said yesterday.

She added that the governor personally paid for the transfer of the properties.

Following the investigation, the Thika Land Registrar issued a 30-day notice to all interested parties with a claim to the land.

No objection was made and the land reverted to Ms Mbugua.

“I am not willing to ask for compensation at the moment. I still live in Kiambu County and I just want to live in peace. I do not want any more problems in the future. “But I would like to ask the commission to keep my file open in case I find more challenges along the way,” said an emotional Ms Mbugua, who was accompanied by her son and daughter.

BY Agewa Magut and Elizabeth & Elizabeth Kamurungi

I acted on the President’s orders, Magoha says on VC drama

The raging drama over the appointment of a vice-chancellor at the University of Nairobi worsened yesterday after the courts reversed a directive annulling the installation of Prof Stephen Kiama even as Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha stood his ground, invoking President Uhuru Kenyatta’s name.

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Maureen Onyango suspended the order issued by Prof Magoha on Friday, which stopped Prof Kiama from taking over as vice-chancellor.

Lady Justice Onyango also revoked Prof Magoha’s appointment of Prof Isaac Mbeche as the acting VC of the country’s oldest and largest institution of higher learning.

It was a day of high drama as Prof Magoha admitted that he had acted on orders from State House, while the Public Service Commission (PSC), which had conducted the interviews and ranked Prof Kiama tops, also defended its position.

Prof Magoha said he acted on the instructions of President Uhuru Kenyatta when he cancelled Prof Kiama’s appointment and dissolved the council chaired by Prof Julia Ojiambo.

In what appears to take away the freedom of university councils to appoint top managers, Prof Magoha said President Kenyatta was not bound by the recommendations of the council or any entity on who should be appointed to run the institution, citing the recent decision by the Head of State to reject three nominees for the post of Auditor- General.

But within the corridors of justice, Lady Justice Onyango was issuing a contrary directive.

Appointing authority “An order is issued to stay Prof Magoha’s decision contained in his letter dated January 17, purporting to revoke Prof Kiama’s appointment as vice-chancellor of UoN,” the judge directed (see separate story on page).

Speaking earlier, Prof Magoha acknowledged that he met the council on January 3 and was briefed on the appointment. He told them that he would consult further. He is understood to have taken action after consultation with President Kenyatta in Mombasa.

He cautioned that the consultation was not an information process, but a deliberative one.

“I met them on January 3, and the council presented the candidate they recommended and I told them well, I will consult. I consult upwards, and consultation is ongoing.

But they went ahead and appointed a VC. Then the owner of the process asked me about it.

I cannot appoint someone without consultation, I take orders from my appointing authority,” said Prof Magoha. He added a new twist to the saga when he suggested that the directive to appoint Prof Kiama may have come from outside the hiring process.

“What you are seeing is a directive coming from somewhere.

Somebody somewhere is pulling strings to destroy the university,” said Prof Magoha, while addressing journalists after assessing progress of the 100 per cent transition programme in Kibera, Nairobi.

The Statue Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) 2018 Act, which was signed into law in January last year by President Kenyatta, took away the power of university councils to advertise, interview and recommend for appointment top university managers.

Instead, university councils should appoint vice-chancellors, their deputies and principals of colleges, in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary, after a competitive recruitment process conducted by the PSC.

By Daily Nation

Uhuru, Raila to give talk on Handshake in US in February

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have been invited to a conference in the US to deliver a talk on the Handshake.

This comes after Raila received a similar invite from Togo last month, to help bring together the government and warring opposition.

Speaking at a BBI public consultative meeting held at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on Saturday, Raila said the March 9, 2018 Handshake has earned respect globally and they have been invited by other countries to share an experience centred on transformation.

“This time round we have been invited together with my brother Uhuru to Washington, for a national prayer breakfast between February 4 and 6,” he said.

The former premier said the world has hailed the Handshake, saying the move was a good example and unique globally.

At the same time, Raila said he and President Uhuru Kenyatta are on a mission to forestall long-lasting peace and unity in the country and not political power.

Raila states that the question of who becomes President in 2022 is not a matter that pre-occupies his mind or that of Uhuru but cohesion and prosperity of the nation.

Speaking on Saturday, when he led top government officials, 15 governors, 10 senators, 60 MPs and a host of MCAs to drum up support for the Building Bridges

Initiative (BBI) taskforce report, Raila said the initiative is not aimed at securing top positions for him and Uhuru as alleged by critics but safeguarding prosperity.

Deputy President William Ruto’s allies have been claiming Raila is using the BBI and the historic March 9, 2018 Handshake to advance his political interests and scuttle Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

Raila, who conveyed Uhuru’s goodwill message, said their main goal is a stable Kenya devoid of divisive politics and they “may not necessarily be there” to enjoy the fruits of the initiative when Kenyans get to the mountain top.

Well governed

“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. Time for BBI has come. We want a solution for posterity. That’s why we have the BBI,” he said.

“We want to transform Kenya because we have had a new Constitution and it seems not to be working for us,” he added.

The ODM leader said despite having a new constitution for almost a decade, Kenya still has teething problems which are not limited to electoral injustices and violence but they are focused on finding lasting solutions to these and other challenges that slow prosperity.

“Something is amiss in our governance structure. What we are doing is not for to- day or tomorrow, or just 2022 politics. 2022 is an event that will come and go but we want to have a resolution for prosperity,” Raila said.

Quoting Martin Luther King, Raila said: “I have been to the mountain top, seen the glory land, I am not sure whether I will get there together with you but together we will get there.

By Hillary Mageka

Kiunjuri: The bold man to watch in Central region

Of all contemporary politicians in the second tier of leadership in Central Kenya after President Kenyatta, former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri is the man to watch.

The man has chutzpah and an audacity that has confounded man. He has twice had the guts to publicly let two presidents know they have treated him shabbily.

A self-made politician, Kiunjuri issued a rare and bold statement with no precedent among Central Kenya political worthies.

He publicly warned the state machinery that had thrown him under the bus that for every action, there will be a reaction.

“You keep cool, I keep cool, you speak, I speak,” Mr Kiunjuri warned.

Half-page adverts And as if to leave no doubt he meant the things he said on TV, including claims of humiliation while in office, Kiunjuri took out prominent half-page adverts for his personal statement after being dropped from the cabinet.

By making the statement, Kiunjuri was issuing a public protest against the notion that his sacking was on claims of misconduct that saw him summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) last year.

It is important to recall that Kiunjuri held a press conference outside the DCI offices where he claimed some forces were out to fix him and to hoodwink the country that “the war on corruption was even-handed”. He wanted his audience to view the summons as political persecution to achieve political ends.

At the same time, Kiunjuri’s warning to those he alleged were out to fix him had to do with where he comes from, that is Nyeri County, the home county of former Transport and Infrastructure CS Michael Kamau, who was sacked from the Cabinet in November 2015.

He was charged in 2015 with abuse of office and alteration of the design for the building of Kamukuywa-Kiptama-Kiptama-Kapsokwony-Sirisia road in 2008 when he was a permanent secretary.

The case is among those the President laments of being handled at

Daily Nation

snail’s pace by the Judiciary.

Pundits intimate that Kiunjuri’s threat that he could spill the beans includes putting the Kenyatta administration on the spot for alleged misuse of the Judiciary to fix political rivals, or getting rid of senior civil servants inherited from the Kibaki administration like Mr Kamau to create jobs for ‘new kids on the block’.

Kiunjuri’s move is reminiscent his 2008 dismissal of his appointment as an assistant minister for Water as too dismal a reward for all the sweat he had put into the 2007 re-election campaigns.

He later took it up after being cajoled by Kibaki supporters and aides.

In the last three years, Kiunjuri has carved an image of a man of the people with drive and wherewithal, galvanising support against what he calls an attempt to bamboozle voters through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Kiunjuri’s political statements show he supports Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

Kiunjuri is among senior politicians from the Central region who have repeatedly “cautioned” the Gema nation it risked losing political relevance in the post-Kenyatta dispensation if it peels away from the DP.

“Mwaga guthikiriria muthamaki, thakame no ikamucokerera” (If you fail to heed your leader’s warning, your blood will be upon your heads), he said mid last year in Nyandarua.

Kiunjuri has risen head and shoulders above a veritable raft of old warriors and young pretenders from the region involved in the scramble for the mantle of running mates in the 2022 presidential contest.

His closest rivals, like former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth are yet to wage an overt campaign preferring to play it safe.

The current state of suspended animation in the region’s politics has not been made any easy by President Kenyatta’s hints that he intends to play a role in his own succession.

This is unlike President Kibaki who left no room for speculation that he was keen to exit the scene at the end of his second term, granting the next generation of politicians room to emerge and chart their course.

BY GAKUU MATHENGE

Ruto was visiting Sudan chicken farm as Uhuru reshuffled Cabinet

As President Uhuru Kenyatta was reshuffling the Cabinet on Tuesday, Deputy President William Ruto was flying to Sudan, reportedly on a private business mission.

The Daily Nation has learnt that the DP left Wilson Airport in Nairobi on Tuesday morning via a private jet to visit a successful chicken rearing project in Khartoum he is keen on emulating.

“He left with one bodyguard,” said a source at the DP’s office who did not wish to be named in this article. “I think he wants to partner with the owners of the farm.” The DP returned home yesterday at around 4pm.

Dr Ruto first visited the farm in April 2018 while on a threeday official visit, which took him and his entourage on a visit of a slaughterhouse and Kenana Sugar Factory, the world’s biggest sugar producer.

“Visited a farm that rears 1.2 million chicken, producing 180,000 eggs a day and was impressed by the intensive methods to ensure healthy, productive broods including quality feeds, vaccination, quarantine, pen management and proper handling of both layers and broilers,” he posted on his Facebook page on April 11, 2018.

“We will replicate these best practices to realise food security, a centrepiece of the Big Four,” the post added.

Our source said the DP, who often speaks about how he started out as a chicken seller near his home in Sugoi during his youthful days, hopes to start a similar project in either Narok or Uasin Gishu.

Presidential function

Dr Ruto rears about 150,000 chicken in his Sugoi farm, and conducts an annual chicken auction to help the local community at Kambi Kuku in Turbo Constituency.

In the 2018 trip, he was accompanied by Mr Mwangi Kiunjuri, a key political ally of the DP who was dropped as the Agriculture minister when the President announced the Cabinet changes on Tuesday.

Given their frosty relationship in recent times, it is not known if the President and his deputy consulted over the Cabinet changes as they used to do during their first term.

In their sunnier days, the “dynamic duo”, as they were dubbed then, would come out to face the press while donning matching suits and warm smiles in their faces to announce important decisions to the country.

Asked why he missed the President’s function, a senior official at the DP’s office said: “That was a purely presidential function and we had no role in it.”

Initially, the DP’s trip was scheduled for Monday but had to be postponed to Tuesday after a charter plane failed to get clearance from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority on time.

Last week, Mr Ruto was kicked out of his official residence in Mombasa by junior officers acting on “orders from above”, which the DP decried in a public rally in Soy Constituency.

BY Daily Nation

I’m a grandfather of three, my children are grown-up living their lives elsewhere- Lusaka

The ceremony in which Ken Lusaka was sworn in as Speaker of the Senate is just a hazy memory to him. It was just too surreal.

“I don’t even remember where I was sitting,” he says. “I try to look at photographs today to try and recall that day. I was very happy because I had just been elevated to a high point. I had never imagined I would be a Speaker. That was out of my line. My line had been civil service, then I thought I would be a governor for two terms and then do my own business afterwards.”

And yet, there he was, getting sworn in after having lost his bid for a second term as Bungoma Governor. He had not quite believed it was happening, from wondering what to do next after the loss, to the moment the President called him to tell him he wanted him to be the speaker, to filling the forms, getting voted in, and finally getting in.

And it was not just happiness. “I was also a bit anxious because there was a perception that to be a speaker you had to have done law, since most speakers have always had a law background,” he says. “The house I was going to lead also had well known and seasoned lawyers. I like doing things to the best of my ability. I don’t like failure. So I wondered if I would control the house or if I would goof. You know sometimes these things are lived on TV and some situations may arise that are very difficult and you have to make a decision on your feet. I thank God that I learned very fast.”

His phone, face up on the table, is on silent, not even on vibrate mode, because it never stops ringing throughout the interview. It is always lit up with some person calling.

As is the fate of many a man who have lost power, when he lost governorship, it wasn’t always this way. He learned that people can be fickle.

“It stopped ringing immediately. In fact, for two days I thought it was spoilt. For the first time, I didn’t have to charge it, because the charge was always full. But then when I became the speaker, people bounced back saying, ‘Oh you know we were praying for you! We knew you would get something else,’ he says laughing.

Before we finally sit down for our interview at his home in Karen, Nairobi, we have had to wait for him to finish talking with one group of people in one living room, before he joined us in the other one where we were waiting. Yet another group of people is waiting to speak to him after us.

Home life

The little décor here feels very… safe. It is almost aggressively neutral, very much like a government-issued house, painted and draped in muted tones of cream and beige, unlike his boisterous personality.

The children are long gone, something he reflects on wistfully. He has three – a daughter aged 34, a son aged 30 and another daughter aged 28, all grown up and living their own lives elsewhere.

“I have two grandsons and a granddaughter who I got last week through my son. I have not gone to celebrate yet. You know as a grandfather you don’t rush! (laughs). You wait to be called, so I am waiting anxiously. There has to be a ceremony,” he says.

The big, empty house is something that has taken some getting used to.

“Kids leave so fast! I have not seen my children for about a month. We are now back where we started with my wife as the two of us, since the children have now left. You know you must learn to appreciate each other as you both depreciate,” he says with a laugh. “We are not the same people we were when we met.”

The Lusakas.

His wife, Margaret Makelo, has a PhD in Plant Breeding and is a director in the Ministry of Agriculture. The two met at the University of Nairobi in 1988 during political campaigns in Webuye.

“That is when we started interacting because we happened to be in the same camp. I was ahead of her at the university. We started chatting, developed a relationship, and one thing led to another until we got married.”

In 1989, they were married. He laughs when I point it out how fast it was. “Sometimes you need to move with speed and precision!” he says.

He describes himself as a “serious fan” of Lingala music, and when not at work, you can find him dancing away at the music with friends. A bottle of Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, will likely be on the table. “I like it 18 years and above. The older the drink, the better. The smoother it is,” he says.

Lusaka the actor

In another life, he might have been a sought-after actor or comedian. “If I wasn’t a politician, I would have been an artist, in terms of acting. I am good at drama, by the way,” he says.

I later on discover that he really is, and has a knack for doing impressions of people, as he regales us with an impeccable impression of former President Moi.

“I just need to stay with you for about two or three days and I can act the way you do.”

While at the University of Nairobi, he was part of the Travelling Theatre, playing the lead roles such as Wamala in The Burdens, Antoni in The Merchant of Veniceand Mulili in Betrayal in the City.

“I studied Literature in first year, 1996, and then I realised it was very involving. Since I didn’t want to be a teacher, I dropped it and took Political Science and History.”

Hollywood may no longer be in his sights, but he still utilises the skills he picked up as an actor in his work as Senate Speaker.

“Art is critical because sometimes you need it to break a stalemate. When the debate is so intense to the point of people disagreeing and there is a lot of tension, you can throw in a comment, a light moment and the whole house lights up and the tension goes down.

Or maybe you make a joke about someone who has spoken something very serious, and he ends up laughing and it ends up reversing an otherwise tense situation,” he says.

Rise to the top

He can hardly finish a paragraph without invoking God’s name, and it is easy to see why. His life of 56 years has been a series of lucky breaks, seemingly always being at the right place at the right time.

“One thing I know about my life is that God has been very gracious to me. There are many things that have happened that don’t look ordinary,” he says, before describing a jaw-dropping series of favourable circumstances that propelled his rise.

“Like when I was to run as student leader, I dropped out the last night before the elections in 1987. All those that ran the following day, like Wafula Buke and Miguna Miguna, who was my year mate, were arrested and expelled,” he says.

After university, he was jobless for a month or two before being called for interviews, where out of 80 people, he was among the 10 posted as District Officers. He was in Muhoroni, and then in Homa Bay before being picked to go for a master’s degree in the Netherlands on Policy and Administration.

“When I came back I became a District Commissioner. When President Kibaki formed his government in 2008, I became the first secretary of provincial administration in the Office of the President. They dropped Khaemba, who was the Permanent Secretary (PS) Livestock. The policy was that if you drop somebody from a region, you replace them with somebody from the same region. I happened to be the most senior person who was there, so that is how I became a PS. After that, I became the first governor of Bungoma. Somehow when people thought I had been buried, the President appointed me as Senate Speaker.

“When you hear me quoting God, it is not in vain.”

The underbelly of success

It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows in his career. One incident has particularly cast a gloomy shadow over all that and refuses to go away. If there was anything he could undo, it is the perception the public has about the wheelbarrow incident.

“This thing about the wheelbarrow that everyone talks about. It keeps coming up. It was me who had initiated an audit as governor to find out how the ministries were performing. When I saw it I was also shocked. Why would a wheelbarrow cost Sh109,000? I wanted an explanation, and they came and explained to me that it was not an ordinary wheelbarrow. It was a regular food trolley. It is just the name that was given because of the material that was used.

“But you see politics being what it is, it was really taken out of proportion,” he continues. “Media of course set me up because whoever interviewed me edited some parts out and just left the parts that they wanted to use. So then everybody was like, “Oh how can you buy a wheelbarrow for Sh109,000. That time we had bought wheelbarrows for Sh3,000, so how would I have allowed? That is one thing I wish would be reversed and that people would know the truth.”

In his words, that has been hanging like a dark cloud over his head. He regards it as part of the misfortune about politics, and regards the salacious stories regarding him with the same distaste.

“Most of what you see on social media are lies. At some point I was convinced my mother was wondering what happened to her son because of the kinds of things said about me offline and online.

“There is this one time someone posted that a certain woman had stolen my clothes and Sh800,000 from me at some hotel in Bungoma. I have never gone to any hotel in Bungoma! How would you carry Sh800,000 to a hotel room? You know? You even wonder whether they are talking about you or someone else. That is the kind of thing that you expect from being in public life. People become insensitive and unfair, because those things are not true.”

Dealing with it

Being a people person is a lifelong course in human nature, and he has learned his fair share of the lessons on being in the limelight.

“It is hard to annoy me, and when I get annoyed it is short-lived. I don’t harbour bitterness. There are people I would not be talking to right now if I did,” he says.

He is noncommittal about whether he will be running as governor again or not, but he intends to stay in politics until at least 2027. Meanwhile, he is happy with where he has gotten.

“If you look at my career path, you deal with people, solve their problems and touch their lives. In the Senate, I am happy that I have managed to keep senators together. Despite the different political persuasions, the Senate is one in terms of standing together as a house.

“There are landmarks that will remain in Bungoma town from when I was governor. These are things that when I sit back, I feel proud about them. If history is written on Bungoma one day they will say there once lived a man…,” he says, proudly.

Wife remembers JJ Kamotho, five years on

This is from your loving wife Eunice. It is now 5 years since you left us to join your Maker, yet it looks like only yesterday. Your favourite seat in our sitting room makes me miss you more and more, however, I know you are happier in Heaven and I look forward to meeting you there someday.

You are missed by your children – Charley and his wife Caroline, Jimmy and his wife Jennifer, Nyokabi and David – and by your grandchildren: Lisa, Mona, Jaden, Lexy, Cheryl, Curtis, and Christie, and also little Eli, who did not have the privilege of knowing you.

You are fondly remembered by your sisters and your only brother Waweru, your many nieces and nephews as well as your numerous close friends.

May God Almighty Rest You in Eternal Peace. We love you.

I helped Wamalwa get CS job-Musalia

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi says he helped Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa secure a ministerial job after showing “increased distress in the cold”.

Mr Mudavadi claims in his memoirs, published this week, that he held a one-on-one meeting with President Kenyatta to plead Mr Wamalwa’s case.

He says after the 2013 election, most of the politicians who had worked with him, and even won seats, still trooped to the government side for favours and not for the structured cooperation he had sought by agreeing to support President Kenyatta after the polls.

“The differences culminated into situations where I could no longer work with some of the officials. Kanu had hitherto found greener pastures and I was now getting exceeding pressure from New Ford Kenya that they too wanted jobs from the government,” he writes.

Mr Mudavadi quotes Mr Wamalwa as saying during the meeting with the President: “You know Wycliffe … we have been in the cold for long, and now it is actually taking a toll on me.”

He writes that in the “ensuing embarrassing hiatus”, he turned to Mr Kenyatta: “Hey, Mr President, if you have a position, could you kindly grant it to my brother Eugene?”

He says both the President and Mr Wamalwa were dumbstruck. “They wondered loudly why I was not asking for a job myself.

But I said no. I wanted to remain independent. I wanted to reserve the right to criticise and be the voice of reason and the conscience of the nation.”

He writes that President Kenyatta shortly afterwards carved out a new portfolio in the Agriculture and Irrigation ministry and appointed Mr Wamalwa the CS for Water and irrigation.

Mr Wamalwa is a former MP for Saboti constituency.

By Julius Sigei

Wako to Americans: The mention of my son and wife was in bad taste

Busia Senator Amos Wako now wants the United States to make public full particulars of the corruption allegations that have led to his being barred from traveling to the country.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Wako blamed the Trump Administration for announcing the travel ban without giving him a platform to be heard.

“I was baffled when out of the blue, without any notification whatsoever or without being given the fundamental right of being heard on any allegation against me… I’m therefore entitled to ask where has the utter commitment to the protection of human rights, rule of law and constitutionalism gone in the United States of America?” he wondered.

The ban was announced on Monday by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said Mr Wako had been “publicly designated due to his involvement in significant corruption”.The ban did not disclose specifics on the matter.

“I am against corruption. The people of Kenya are entitled to full disclosure of any corruption allegations against me… I’m a man of integrity both when I was an Attorney General and now as a senator,” Wako said.

This is not the first time Wako is being banned from the US. In 2009 he was blacklisted after Washington accused him of being a stumbling block to political reforms. A ban which he says is still in force.

“This is an old story being resuscitated.”

“The reasons given 10 years ago for revocation of my visa were that I had engaged in corrupt actions which adversely affected the national interest of the United states of America,” he added.

The Busia Senator defended himself saying he has not been named in the recent corruption cases but instead he was just a witness in Anglo Leasing cases.

“My attorney in Washington DC in 0ctober 2012 applied to receive copies of all documents leading to the revocation of my visa and the only allegations against me was lack of prosecution of corruption cases — allegations which I had responded to and challenged them to give me one case that I refused to prosecute but they were unable,” he explained.

Wako took a swipe at the US Government and accused it of inefficiency arguing that it took six months before he received a reply on the revocation of his visa in 2009.

“And the response was: We are unable to provide information on your request,” said Wako adding “and now they repeat the same thing”.

He has also accused the US Government of dragging his family through mud yet they were not involved when he was discharging his duties as the Attorney-General of Kenya.

“My son is an adult and independent. Even if I committed the sin of corruption, which I emphatically deny, all members of my family should not be punished for my sins… the mention of my son and wife was in bad taste,” he said.

Wako was an Attorney General for 20 years from 1991 to 2011 during former presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki’s tenures.

BY Mercy Asamba

Imran, man of few words who won voters’ hearts

Even before Bernard Imran Okoth threw his hat into the race to replace his late brother Ken Okoth as Kibra MP, he had won the hearts of residents with his involvement in their lives, directly or otherwise.
Most people believe that Mr Okoth started working with Kibra residents three years ago, but his first contacts with them started as early as 2012 when his brother put in charge of the Children of Kibra Foundation, which was dedicated to uplifting the lives of needy children.
“He was the project manager.
He was the one overseeing all the projects that Ken had back home while abroad. He would trust him with all the donor funds he sent back home to run the foundation,” said one of his nephews, who did not want his name published.
His confirmation as the MPelect was just the icing on a cake that had been in the oven being prepared for years since his late brother assumed the leadership of the sprawling constituency.
Averse to publicity
Imran, as he is popularly known by Kibra residents, is an introvert and a man of few words who does not like hogging the headlines as your normal politician would do. He is averse to too much publicity. Very little of his private life is known.
“You know I cannot tell you much about his personal life as he is a man who likes keeping his life private secret,” continued the nephew.
The responsibility therein thrust him into constant interaction with residents, making him a darling of many, who praised his meticulousness.
When the time came for nominations for the ODM party ticket, it was a public secret that the ticket was his to lose.
He later triumphed over nine other aspirants in a landslide victory in September.
“People love him because of his transparent nature. Running the CDF also made him popular as bursary funds made people take noticebecause disbursements were done in a transparent manner without any favouritism. The residents had never witnessed something of the sort even during Raila Odinga’s reign.
“While running the projects, he never considered any family member for any tender. He was even being mocked during campaigns for lack of money yet he managed millions,” he added.
His late brother Ken follows Mr Okoth in the family’s birth order, although he looks younger than Ken. He is over 40 years. They were very close.
“My brother Okoth was diagnosed with stage-four colorectal cancer around October 2017. I was the first person he told and in November 2017, he flew to the US for treatment.
I had to step up for a brother and take charge,” Mr Okoth said during the memorial service of his brother.
Staunch Muslim
There is an elder sister, then another brother, Bob, who lives abroad, and then Imran, Ken and George.
His nephew said that Mr Okoth is a staunch Muslim though his other family members are all Christians.
He decided to convert to Islam largely because of his upbringing in Kibra, where most of his friends were Nubians.
“He has never left Kibra. He has spent all his life there and has settled there, where he is married with children. The name Imran is not an alias but his real name after he became a Muslim.”
Mr Okoth was born in Kisumu Ndogo, Kibra, before his family moved to Makina, living there for a while before relocating to Karanja Estate, where he is still living with his family in a house next to Kibera Primary School.
Development projects
He went to Olympic and Toi Primary Schools before joining a school in Dagoretti and then transferring to another in Kisumu.
He later joined college, where he studied four courses, including electrical engineering and bookkeeping.
“He has always been the quiet one in the family but very involved,” he said.
True to this, the MP-elect has always been brief in conversations and media briefings talking for only a few minutes.
The family member acknowledged that Mr Okoth’s star started rising after he heeded his late brother’s call to take charge of running different development projects he had initiated as he had to leave the constituency to seek treatment abroad.
This saw him become his late brother’s personal assistant, overseeing different development projects in Kibra run under the Constituency Development Fund for three years until the demise of Ken in July this year.
By Collins Omullo

Watch former Senator Boni Khalwale being stoned and humiliated in Kibera

Former Kakaemga Senator Dr Boni Khalwale on found himself on the received end Thursday evening during the Kibera by-elections forcing him to pick stones and protect himself.
He became the butt of online jokes after he was photographed arming himself with stones during the Kibra by-election.
Khalwale, a senior politician and a medical doctor by profession, was pictured collecting stones from a ditch and posing as if ready for action.

The politician, who has been leading the campaign for Jubilee candidate McDonald Mariga, was earlier in the day captured on video being stoned by some individuals in Kibra.
Watch the video below how Khalwale “beaten and chased around like the evil spirit”.


Another one

After the pictures and video went viral, people tweeted all manner of jokes.

Ahmed Mohamed said:” These pictures are disheartening and sad. This man was once a kingpin of a whole community, he’s a medical doctor, the immediate former Senator of Kakamega County. Who or what reduced Boni Khalwale to this?”

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Wife of former Kibra MP Ken Okoth votes at Old Kibera Primary

The widow of former Kibra MP Ken Okoth has voted in the ongoing by-election at the Old Kibera Primary polling station. Monica Okoth hit national headlines over a paternity row involving the late legislator’s family.
She disputed DNA results confirming that Nairobi MCA Anne Thumbi’s son was Ken Okoth’s.
Monica claimed to have different results.

It would later emerge that indeed Anne Thumbi’s son was Ken Okoth’s thus Monica Okoth agreed to share the late Kibra MP’s property with the four-year-old son. Kibra votes Kibra residents are today voting in a showdown pitting the ‘handshake’ team against Deputy President William Ruto’s team Tangatanga.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.

The ‘handshake’ team comprises politicians brought together following a unity pact between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018.

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Voting is underway in Kibra Constituency.
ODM – a subscriber of the handshake – has fielded Bernard Imran Okoth while Ruto’s Jubilee has ex-football sensation McDonald Mariga.

The two are touted as the front runners based on the spirited campaigns that they have staged in the chase for the votes.
Kibra constituency has five wards: Makina, Laini Saba, Sarang’ombe, Woodley/Kenyatta Golf Course and Lindi with 118,658 votes.
Earlier on a commotion ensued at a polling station in Mashimoni Squatters after votes roughed up a man they accused of trying to bribe them.
BY

Watch Maraga rant how the emcee didn’t acknowledge his arrival on Mashujaa celebration

Chief Justice David Maraga has threatened not to attend some state functions unless the government starts treating him and the Judiciary with respect.

Speaking to journalists on Monday at the Supreme Court, Maraga documented mistreatment and humiliation he and the Judiciary have been subjected to by other arms of the government.

He claims all these are part of ‘a plot to make Judiciary a puppet’.

ILL TREATMENT

“The CJ is not accorded the respect accorded to his office. Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries are cleared to enter in places before the Chief Justice. Unless I’m treated with the respect I deserve, I will choose state functions to attend,” Maraga said.

Maraga also said he is treated better in other countries than here at home.

He gave an example of Mashujaa Day celebrations where he walked to the dais without being recognized.

“I walked to the dais through a side walk and the emcee did not acknowledge my arrival, but he did for other people,” he said.

Maraga also revisited the issue of the 232 top-of-the-range vehicles which the Judiciary intends to buy at a cost Sh11 million each.

BUDGET CUT

“The CJ has no Mercedes car, we were told its wastage yet the two Speakers of the National Assembly have them. I have a Mercedes 350, which is affordable to many while Speakers of both Houses have Mercedes 500. I have never owned a Mercedes myself and I’m not bothered. Let the office be treated like the Speaker’ and Uhuru’s office. We should not be taken to be like illegitimate children,” he went on.

Maraga now wants the Judiciary estimates to be taken to parliament then the funds deposited direct in the Judiciary fund account as by the law.

Maraga instructed the Chief Registrar not to take budget estimates to the Treasury from 2020.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani had last month issued a directive proposing drastic budgetary cuts on recurring and development budget of up to 50 per cent in the Judiciary.

But the directive was stopped by the High Court after the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) sued the National Treasury and the Attorney General over the budget cuts.

The High Court asked the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to provide a report on how the cost-cutting has affected the dispensation of justice so far.