- With new powers at his disposal, Dr Kibicho has been an insider in the war on corruption and the reorganisation of the Kenyatta II State.
- Dr Kibicho has turned out to be the punching bag of elements who favour the rise of Dr Ruto as the heir-apparent once President Kenyatta’s final term comes to a close.
In public, Dr Karanja Kibicho walks with the confidence of a big cat. He rarely speaks — and leaves it to his boss, Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, who like him, exhibits a no-nonsense public posture.
Behind the scenes, Dr Kibicho is, without a doubt, the super Principal Secretary, chairing the powerful National Development Implementation Technical Committee, which was formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta through Executive Order Number 1 of 2019 dated January 21.
With that, he has the administrative networks of the national government on speed dial and is Mr Kenyatta’s Mr Fixit. With new powers at his disposal, and support from State House, Dr Kibicho has been an insider in the war on corruption and the reorganisation of the Kenyatta II State.
The January 21 executive order also elevated his boss, Dr Matiang’i, to the supervisory role of government programmes and projects, thus whittling down Deputy President William Ruto’s powers — and denying him a chance to go around the country in the guise of opening and supervising projects, while laying ground for the 2022 elections.
That the duo of Dr Kibicho and Dr Matiang’i has, ever since, emerged as the most powerful Jubilee technocrats is thanks to the lofty position they hold at the Ministry of Interior too, the fulcrum of the Kenyatta Administration.
There is a political price that comes with that — both are loved and loathed in equal measure.
With the Jubilee Party torn into two, Dr Kibicho has turned out to be the punching bag of elements who favour the rise of Dr Ruto as the heir-apparent once President Kenyatta’s final term comes to a close.
In the last two general elections, and before he seemed to have made an about-turn, President Kenyatta had rallied voters in Mr Ruto’s backyard to support him with the promise that he would hand over to his deputy.
Although Mr Kenyatta has not succinctly indicated that he has shifted from that position, his recent political moves indicate a waning of confidence in a Ruto presidency — opting to maintain a studious silence on political developments that may shape his presidency.
When he recently spoke at the Kasarani stadium, and without naming names, he promised those writing him off in his Mt Kenya backyard a battle royale.
The rise of Dr Kibicho from a chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in 2010 to one of the most-coveted positions in President Kenyatta’s government is partly attributed to his resolute tendencies.
“When it comes to loyalty, he has no two sides. He is resolute and confident,” said a confidante who has worked with him.