It is no coincidence that in President Uhuru’s government, former military and intelligence chiefs have found a soft landing as far as securing top jobs in strategic State institutions is concerned.
The sporadic transfer of Principal Secretary and ex-state spy Gordon Kihalangwa in quick succession is a cause of concern within government circles.
Since Uhuru won a second term in office in 2017, Kihalangwa’s tenure in government has been a roll-coaster of sorts. From Immigration director to PS Immigration then to Defence and now Public Works dockets, Kihalangwa’s transfers are in no ordinary ones.
A trained spy who was hailed for installing professionalism in the management of passports, Uhuru’s agenda with him is unclear but officers under him must be worried. Kihalangwa could be the masterstroke expected to unravel the graft webs at the corruption-infested public works docket.
He is not alone. Decorated ex-soldiers and top spies have had the President’s eye whenever he has the prerogative in appointments. Military discipline and the insight of intelligence officers are considered key assets for government’s top jobs.
The perception that these men are clean and disciplined has convinced President Kenyatta to put his trust in them as he banks his legacy on the war against corruption.
At least 10 senior appointments under Uhuru have seen former military and intelligence men picked.These include the Office of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), Immigration Services, the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Firearms Licencing Board, the Kenya Coast Guard Service, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
Not to mention that KRA new boss James Mburu, served as a Commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations before his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta few months ago.
Uhuru even came up with a new agency – the Multi-Agency Taskforce (MAT) – formed to coordinate security and investigation issues targeting terrorism, general crime and corruption.
Members of the team include officials from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), NIS, FRC, EACC, ODPP, the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) and the Attorney General.The MAT will now have at least four spies – DPP Noordin Haji, FRC Director-General Saitoti Maika, NIS boss Philip Kameru and EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak. It also has DCI George Kinoti, a career detective.
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