President Uhuru Kenyatta has moved to galvanise support in his Mt Kenya backyard by dishing out government appointments to 2017 election losers.
The majority of politicians from Nyeri, Kiambu and Murang’a counties who lost in the Jubilee Party nominations and did not defend their seats are now beneficiaries of recent State appointments.
The promise of jobs by President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto after the chaotic Jubilee primaries in 2017 was to ensure that there were fewer disgruntled leaders within the party.
In just one year, seven out of eight Nyeri leaders who were voted out in the 2017 polls have been appointed to top State jobs. Only former Tetu MP Ndung’u Gethenji has not been lucky, so far.
Interestingly, all the seven appointees were victims of an electoral purge that saw all but two elected leaders voted out by the Nyeri electorate.
Only Kieni MP Kanini Kega and Mweiga ward representative Mwaniki Kanyiri survived the broom as then governor, senator, woman representative, five MPs and 29 MCAs were swept out during the Jubilee nominations.
Even before the dust settles over the controversial appointment of former Othaya MP Mary Wambui to chair the National Employment Authority, Jubilee has handed former Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe and former Mathira MP Peter Weru State jobs.
In a Gazette notice dated October 17, 2019, Mr Kagwe was appointed as a member of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority for three years. He has served as an MP, Cabinet minister and Senator from 2002 to 2017 when he lost in the gubernatorial race.
At the same time, former Mathira MP Peter Weru has been appointed by Water CS Simon Chelugui to head the Tana Water Works Development Agency for three years.
“The great people of Mathira are greatly honoured by this appointment,” Mr Weru said. He served as Mathira MP for a single term, 2013-2017.
Also appointed was former Kinangop MP David Ngugi, who has been picked to sit on the board of the Lapsset Corridor Development Authority for three years.
Also on the list is former Kirinyaga senator Daniel Karaba, who becomes a member of the Board of Trustees of the Commodities Fund for three years.
The latest appointments of Mr Kagwe, Mr Weru and Mr Karaba come days after former Othaya MP Wambui was surprisingly picked to head the employment authority.
Ms Wambui has defend her appointment, saying she deserves the post as much as anyone else. "I got the post because I am better than those complaining. I have the qualifications and experience to run the office," she told the Nation.
Her appointment came barely a week after the National Assembly approved Esther Murugi to sit in the National Land Commission.
In May, former Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando was picked to chair the board of Local Authorities Provident Fund.
Former Nyeri Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi is now a commissioner at the National Gender and Equality Commission. Her appointment was made on August 17, 2018.