In Summary
  • Though never acknowledged, is factional politics within Jubilee, and it will be interesting to see whether the President will seek to balance between his own side of the coalition and that of Deputy President William Ruto.
  • Within the Cabinet, only East Africa Co-operation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed and his Transport and Infrastructure colleague James Macharia have a banking background. None of the government sources that the Nation spoke to was privy to the President’s thinking, but the chances of the two ministers getting the acting role were not rated highly.

  • Mr Mohamed is believed to gravitate towards the Deputy President’s orbit while Mr Macharia has a huge portfolio and is somewhat unlikely to be considered for additional duties.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to quickly pick Treasury replacements — whether in an acting capacity or substantively — by end of the week, and it is a tough call. There is expectation that a mini-Cabinet reshuffle is the most suitable path for taking advantage of the vacancies created by the arrest and arraignment of Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his Principal Secretary, Dr Kamau Thugge.

ADDITIONAL DUTIES

Treasury is a senior and complex docket which requires expertise in financial matters and, possibly, experience in government. The candidate selected must be able to take over the financial sector, lead it effectively, and be able to credibly persuade the public that expenditure will strictly adhere to value for money in a Treasury scarred by allegations of high-level corruption.

The person must also command the respect of multilateral partners, especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and have the expertise and connections to restructure the national debt, which is a major source of worry for the public and government alike.

Also coming into play, though never acknowledged, is factional politics within Jubilee, and it will be interesting to see whether the President will seek to balance between his own side of the coalition and that of Deputy President William Ruto.

Within the Cabinet, only East Africa Co-operation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed and his Transport and Infrastructure colleague James Macharia have a banking background. None of the government sources that the Nation spoke to was privy to the President’s thinking, but the chances of the two ministers getting the acting role were not rated highly.

Mr Mohamed is believed to gravitate towards the Deputy President’s orbit while Mr Macharia has a huge portfolio and is somewhat unlikely to be considered for additional duties.

Some of the names being bandied around include that of Ms Ruth Kagia, the Deputy Chief of Staff (Policy and Strategy) in the Presidency, whose experience at the World Bank is touted as her main qualification. Ms Kagia spent 20 years at the World Bank, rising to the bank’s Director of Education position between 2002 and 2008. She later became the Country Director for Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho as well as Mauritius and Madagascar).

Others yet think that the President might reach out for a trusted and safe pair of hands in the shape of Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, a career financial manager who served at Treasury and Central Bank for many years.

Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, former Cabinet secretary and currently the secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, is seen as having a future in Jubilee, but it is not clear whether the Finance portfolio would be entrusted to him, or whether he would be brought in as a relief for another CS who then gets promoted to Treasury.

CRIMINAL CHARGES

Whatever the decision, the President has so far demonstrated an aversion for confrontation and whatever changes he makes might be those that he and Mr Ruto can live with, at least for the moment.

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