In Summary
  • Before his axing, which was a long time coming, Mr Kiunjuri was a marked man.
  • The president had lashed at him multiple times, sometimes even in public.
  • Uhuru once scolded the CS, publicly threatening to sack him over irregular payments made to fictitious maize suppliers.

The sacking of former Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri on Tuesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta brought to an end what has been a strained relationship between the two leaders.

Before his axing, which was a long time coming, Mr Kiunjuri was a marked man. The President had lashed out at him multiple times, sometimes in public.

During a meeting with Kenyans in Windhoek, Namibia, in March last year, Uhuru lambasted Kiunjuri for failing to take notes and ''ignoring Kenyans’ concerns'' yet he was a government minister.

‘‘Look at my brother Kiunjuri. He isn’t taking notes. He never bothered to do so when you were raising concerns. Just because you didn’t address his docket (Agriculture), he didn’t see a reason to write,'' Mr Kenyatta said as those in attendance applauded.

Months later, during the Nairobi International Trade Fair in October, Mr Kiunjuri was again blamed by the President for the agony of maize farmers across the country.

The President scolded the CS, threatening to sack him over irregular payments made to fictitious suppliers of maize to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) at the expense of genuine farmers. ''I swear before God, you try that again and you’ll see what will happen to you. We have seen what you did and we will follow you. Government money belongs to the people. Pay farmers first,'' Mr Kenyatta said in a direct address to the CS.

After his address, a visibly angry President walked over to the minister and confronted him in his mother tongue, saying:

''Mungiriha ni mukuona inyui (pay those cartels and you’ll face the consequences).''

Less than a month later during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County, Mr Kenyatta repeated his remarks.

''Kiunjuri, the time for play is over. You must find out who these cartels are and we will jail them. Lest you pay the price,'' the President warned.

CONSTANT POLITICKING

While poor performance may have partly motivated his removal from government, it is believed that Mr Kiunjuri was axed for his constant politicking, in open defiance of the President’s orders for all CSs to keep off politics and serve Kenyans.

Even in his address to the nation from Mombasa, the President acknowledged that production at all levels of agriculture had increased.

In October last year, the CS, accompanied by 42 legislators allied to Deputy President William Ruto, told a press conference that he would accept the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report with conditions.

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