The road to State House for Uhuru Kenyatta’s second stint is paved with one of the most expensive political promises the country has seen.
The promises have slowly metamorphosed into perceived debts for those who risked it all to back what looked like the winning horse in the tumultuous election.
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Now, some of these initial backers expect their pound of flesh. They did their bit — some successfully others not so — and they have come to cash their cheques even as the President grapples with a fixed number of slots to dish out.
Apart from the individuals, there are political parties and communities who continue to lie in wait for their political debts to be paid.
During the campaigns for the August 8, 2017 General Election and the repeat presidential polls of October 26, 2017 Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto, traversed the country wooing voters. The Jubilee duo also dangled big promises to key regional leaders.
It is these promises that have come to cause the biggest dilemma for the duo as they build their government. Already, some debts have been paid through the retaining of six Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) and the appointment of new ones.
Two weeks ago, President Kenyatta retained six CSs, including Charles Ketter (Energy), Dr Fred Matiang’i (Interior, Education), James Macharia (Transport), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Najib Balala (Tourism) and Henry Rotich (Treasury). He also appointed former Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani, former Turkana Senator John Munyes and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko into the Cabinet, though they were not allocated ministries.
Whereas Munyes and Yattani’s appointments were in respect to the political promises, Tobiko’s entry into the Cabinet was meant to fill the slot that was left by the late former Interior CS Joseph Nkaisery.
Former Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua, who was prevailed to stand down for Lee Kinyanjui in the run up to August 8, was also appointed State House comptroller.
Given that the Constitution allows the President to appoint up to 22 Cabinet Secretaries, Uhuru and Ruto still have 13 slots to fill. But whom do they reward with these lucrative Executive positions given the tens of politicians expecting to be repaid for their loyalty and support?.
The list of those awaiting to be retained or appointed into the Cabinet is broad, with the delay by Uhuru and Ruto to name the final list only heightening anxiety.
Yesterday, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua demanded that his Maendelo Chap Chap Party (MCCP) should be given three slots in the Cabinet for his support for Jubilee. Mutua said the three seats would go into paying for the support his party gave Jubilee in a predominantly Opposition zone.
Alongside MCCP, other parties like Kanu, Labour Party, Party of Development and Reforms (PDR) and Economic Freedom Party (EFP) are waiting for their piece of the pie.
Besides the parties, Uhuru and Ruto have more expectant individuals to deal with. Just before the campaigns started, Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri had started eyeing Laikipia gubernatorial race.
One afternoon while visiting the county just before the Jubilee primaries, Uhuru publicly prevailed upon the CS to shelf his governor’s ambitions because he was needed more in Nairobi to help run government. But Kiunjuri’s name was missing from the list of CSs retained.
Other names that will repeatedly come out based on their support will be those of former governors’ Peter Munya (Meru), Isaac Ruto (Bomet) and David Nkedienye (Kajiado).
Both Munya and Nkedienye were cajoled to drop their petitions against the Jubilee-elected governors in return for ‘bigger positions’ in government.
Ruto, who was at one time a National Super Alliance (NASA) principal, was also persuaded to support the ruling party.
Other politicians who came into the unlikely support of Uhuru and Ruto including former senators David Musila (Kitui), Hassan Omar (Mombasa), Labour leader Ababu Namwamba and his Narc Kenya counterpart Martha Karua are also waiting on the sidelines for rewards. And so are a hostof other defectors from the NASA strongholds.
Then there are those who selfishly worked for Jubilee, including its chair Raphael Tuju and former Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir.
Chirchir was among those sent home over corruption allegations in 2015.