Uhuru set up Kiunjuri for failure and sacking, MP claims

Wednesday March 18 2020
Kiunjuri

Mr Mwangi Kiunjuri is pictured moments before addressing the press in Nairobi on January 14, 2019, following his sacking at Agriculture Cabinet Secretary. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ANITA CHEPKOECH

President Kenyatta set up former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri for failure and then sacked him, his ally has claimed.

Mr Kiunjuri was sacked on Tuesday as Mr Kenyatta reshuffled the Cabinet in what he said would ensure better service delivery.

But Belgut MP Nelson Koech, claimed the President purposely "cannibalised" the ministry and denied it funds during Mr Kiunjuri’s tenure.

"Kiunjuri was set up to fail from the onset. The cooperatives, marketing role and that of value addition had been transferred from his office to that of (Trade CS Peter) Munya," Mr Koech said.

He said the move "speaks volumes", given Mr Munya is now the Agriculture minister.

During an interview at NTV, Mr Koech further said, "How did you expect him to perform with a cannibalised ministry?"

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"DOUBLE STANDARDS"

Leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto have maintained that Mr Kiunjuri was a marked man and for that reason, could not deliver.

"If a person wants to [help] you perform, he will," said Mr Koech said.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, also the DP's ally, faulted the Head of State for applying “double standards” in the Cabinet changes.

"If the President were to fire any CS for involvement in politics, then (Fred) Matiang’i (Interior) would have gone alongside Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution) and Munya,” said Mr Cherargei.

He said Dr Matiang’i is preoccupied with BBI politics “[while] Al-Shabaab has a field day in northern Kenya”.

HUMILIATION

Mr Kiunjuri had a strained relationship with his boss, who publicly humiliated him a number of times.

During a meeting with Kenyans in Windhoek, Namibia, in March 2019, President Kenyatta lambasted him 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,” Mr Kenyatta told the gathering.

“Just because you didn’t address his docket (Agriculture), he didn’t see a reason to write.”

Months later, during the Nairobi International Trade Fair in October, Mr Kiunjuri was sternly warned, before a huge gathering, that he would face unspecified consequences if he paid maize cartels.

Mr Kiunjuri has also been criticising the Building Bridges Initiative, which is being fronted by the President and his 'brother', Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga.

It is alleged that he is out to enhance his reputation as President Kenyatta's successor in Mt Kenya.

KIUNJURI'S RESPONSE

Mr Kiunjuri, who had served in the Cabinet since 2015, said he was not surprised by the President's move and that he was happy, given it was a "burden" whose effects only God and his family knew.

Although he did not link his dismissal to his stand on wrangles between Mr Kenyatta and DP Ruto, Jubilee Party's bosses, he said he would remain independent and firm.

In a four-page statement issued shortly after his sacking, Dr Ruto’s point man in Laikipia County told those celebrating his downfall that he was "going nowhere" and would react if provoked.

“I have courage, determination and faith, knowing it will be bumpy and challenging. I shall remain independent, principled and firm as I have been throughout my political career,” said the 50-year-old, who once worked as a tout in Nanyuki.