Saturday, 18 May 2013

Pressure on Uhuru over security docket

President Kenyatta talks to senior security officers after holding a meeting at State House, Nairobi, on Thursday. PHOTO/PPS
President Kenyatta talks to senior security officers after holding a meeting at State House, Nairobi, on Thursday. PHOTO/PPS 
Posted  Friday, May 17   2013 at  21:46

President Kenyatta is under intense pressure to appoint the Cabinet Secretary in charge of the powerful docket of Interior and Coordination of National Government following the spiralling wave of violence that has hit the country.
Saturday Nation has established that the matter was brought to Mr Kenyatta’s attention by Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo during Thursday’s high level security meeting at State House, Nairobi.
Reading a memorandum from police chiefs, Mr Kimaiyo told the President that the absence of a Cabinet Secretary in charge of internal security was hindering their efforts to fight insecurity, which has hit Busia, Bungoma, Mandera, Garissa and Mombasa counties.
Mr Kimaiyo told the Head of State that he was finding it difficult to attend to policy matters touching on security.
As a result, he was being forced to frequently seek audience with the President for policy direction.
Presidential Press Service (PPS) director Isaiya Kabira told Saturday Nation yesterday that the appointment will be made once Deputy President William Ruto returns from West Africa today.
“The Deputy President is away; once he returns, they will make the appointment,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta was also told that a notice creating new ranks within the Police Service could not be gazetted as only the Cabinet Secretary could do so.
One of the crucial ranks yet to be gazetted, Mr Kimaiyo said, was that of a Senior Assistant Inspector-General of Police.
All the 47 county commanders will report to the Senior Assistant Inspector-General, who will, in turn, report to Mr Kimaiyo and his two deputies.
In the absence of the Cabinet Secretary, Mr Kenyatta has been relying on Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia and the Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo for briefings at security meetings.
It has also emerged that a National Security Council meeting could not be convened by the President. Under the Constitution, the council supervises national security organs.
Chaired by the President, the Deputy President, the Cabinet secretaries responsible for national security, Defence, Foreign Affairs, the Attorney-General, the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service and the Inspector-General of Police sit on the council, which Mr Kenyatta is yet to call since he took office on April 9.
The Labour Cabinet Secretary docket also remains vacant. Sources said the President could fill the slot when he names the new principal secretaries.
This, according his strategists, was meant to manage public expectations, especially in regard to ethnic balance.
“The President and his deputy wanted to kill all birds using one stone. Since the two remaining positions cannot satisfy every community, they wanted to create a perception that at least every region goes home with something when the appointments are made,” said a source.
On Thursday, Ms Irene Keino, the vice-chairperson of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), said they were investigating how the Public Service Commission (PSC) had short-listed 66 candidates out of the 155 interviewed for principal secretaries.
Among the issues being investigated were claims that pass marks and score sheets were arbitrarily altered to give advantage to preferred candidates.
“In short the process appears not to be free and fair,” Ms Keino charged.
Depending on how long the investigations last, the delays threaten to disrupt the operations of the new administration, which took over after the March 4 General Election.
There has been a clamour by some communities, like the Maasai and the Mijikenda, to be given the remaining Cabinet posts.
It is understood that the two principals could have deliberately delayed the appointments in the hope that the disgruntlement arising from the naming of the first 16 will die down.
According to sources close to the presidency, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto had not agreed on whether to name United Democratic Forum leader Musalia Mudavadi for the Labour docket and Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo for the Interior ministry.
The former Sabatia MP’s UDF party signed a post-election co-operation agreement with Jubilee, and he had been expected to join the Cabinet alongside Mining Secretary Najib Balala and Lands and Urban Development Secretary Charity Ngilu.
The three ran for political office in the March 4 General Election, but lost.
“They are constrained in terms of ethnic correctness. Naming Mr Mudavadi, who is a Luhyia, and Mutea Iringo, who is a Meru, would alienate other regions,” said the source.

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