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Kalonzo VP in Kibaki’s new Cabinet

Published on January 9, 2008, 12:00 am

By Peter Murigi

ODM-Kenya leader Mr Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka is the Vice-President, in a new-look coalition government announced by President Kibaki.

But violence broke out in Kisumu and some parts of Nairobi moments after the announcement made on the State-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).

Eldoret was also reported to be tense.

Kalonzo, the 10th VP in independent Kenya, now becomes the greatest beneficiary of the post-election confusion that pits President Kibaki against his chief rival, Mr Raila Odinga.

Besides Kalonzo, his ODM-Kenya chairman Mr Samuel Poghisio of Kacheliba now becomes the Minister for Information and Communication in a Cabinet largely picked from Kanu, ODM-Kenya and the Party of National Unity (PNU).

Kibaki only named half of the Cabinet awaiting the outcome of peace and reconciliation initiatives aimed at broadening his government to accommodate the ODM leader and his troops.

The announcement of the 17-member Cabinet came just minutes before Ghanaian President John Kuffuor touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, to help find a political solution to the festering problem sparked by the announcement of President Kibaki as the winner of last year’s poll.

ODM insists that the election was stolen.

Graphic image of President Mwai Kibak and ODM-K leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

It was also not lost to Kenyans that besides the VP, Kibaki named ministers to all the key ministries including Defence, Internal Security and Provincial Administration, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Public Service, Education, Local Government, Energy, Transport, Roads and Public Works and Information and Communication.

The only other key portfolios that he left unfilled include the ministries of Health, Tourism, Agriculture, Trade, Lands and Labour.

Despite Kibaki’s promise during his campaigns that he would name a youthful, clean-hands Cabinet, he still retained his trusted old lieutenants, including Mr John Michuki, who was transferred from Internal Security and Provincial Administration to the powerful Roads and Public Works ministry.

The other ministers in the new line-up include Mr Amos Kimunya, who retained his portfolio at the Treasury, and Prof George Saitoti, who moves from the Education docket to the Office of the President as Minister of State in-charge of Internal Security and Provincial Administration.

Prof Saitoti shares the OP with former powerful Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner, Mr Yusuf Haji, who becomes the Minister of State in charge of Defence while Taveta MP, Dr Naomi Shaaban, the second female minister in the half-Cabinet, heads the Special Programmes ministry.

Other ministers are former Lands Assistant minister Mr Asman Kamama, who was elevated to Public Service minister previously held by former Sabatia MP, Mr Moses Akaranga.

Other ministers are Prof Sam Ongeri (Education), Mr John Munyes (Water and Irrigation) and Kanu chairman Mr Uhuru Kenyatta (Local Government).

PNU MP for Sirisia and former Assistant Foreign Affairs minister Mr Moses Wetangula was elevated to head the Foreign Affairs portfolio formerly held by former Rarieda MP, Mr Raphael Tuju.

The other ministers who retained their seats are Mr Kiraitu Murungi (Energy), Mr Wilfred Machage (East African Community), Ms Martha Karua (Justice and Constitutional Affairs), Mr Ali Chirau Mwakwere (Tranport) and Dr Noah Wekesa (Science and Technology).

Other ministries left vacant were Livestock and Fisheries, Gender, Sports and culture, Regional Development and Authorities, Housing, Environment and Natural Resources, Co-operative Development and Marketing and Planning and National Development.

ODM feel betrayed

The mini-Cabinet crafted by Kibaki was last night being dismissed by the Opposition as a betrayal, given the high expectations of talks between the Head of State and Kuffuor.

ODM’s Mr Musalia Mudavadi said the President’s sole aim in announcing the mini-Cabinet was to sabotage mediation talks with the visiting African Union chairman.

“This means that President Kibaki has no respect for the African Union leader who is coming to mediate in crisis over the election which his party rigged,” said Mudavadi.

Earlier on Tuesday, several civil society groupings and lawyers under the Law Society of Kenya had called on Kibaki to postpone naming the Cabinet until the matter of the disputed presidential election was resolved.

Former ministers left out of the new line-up include all those beaten in parliamentary elections, such as former VP Mr Moody Awori (Funyula), Mr Njenga Karume (Kiambaa), Mr Musikari Kombo (Webuye) and Mr Joseph Munyao (Mbooni).

The others are Prof Kivutha Kibwana, Mr Suleiman Shakombo, Mr Moses Akaranga, Mr Simeon Nyachae, Mr Kipruto arap Kirwa and Mr Raphael Tuju.

Also left out are Mr Mutahi Kagwe, Mr Mutua Katuku, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, Mr Mohamed Abdi Mohamud, Mr Morris Dzoro and Mr Soita Shitanda, who retained his Malava seat.

Also in the cold are Dr Newton Kulundu, Mr Njeru Ndwiga and Mr Henry Obwocha.

Kibaki’s move immediately raised political temperatures across the country and re-opened wounds that were starting to heal.

There were immediate skirmishes in Eldoret, Kisumu and parts of Nairobi.


About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.


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