After the recent uproar from ODM about how Interior PS Karanja Kibicho had usurped the powers of the BBI Secretariat and was involving himself with succession politics in a way that was undermining Raila’s chances of presidency, the powerful Principal Secretary has spoken for the first time.
Following the furore from the ODM leader’s top aides which threatened to dismantle the entire “handshake” arrangement, the Interior PS has come out to respond in a defiant tone.
Kibicho recently made it clear that he is going nowhere since he doesn’t take instructions from anybody else other than the president, and as far as he is concerned, he hasn’t done anything wrong enough to warrant his removal, or stepping aside.
However, at hand is an even bigger issue that traces its origin back to the Kibaki era, when a new president with good intentions, gave the civil service a free hand and unchecked powers to operate.
Back in 2003, the country was just coming out of a monolithic and hegemonic 24 year rule of Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi where the civil service had been turned in to a state machinery that was run from State House by the president’s kitchen cabinet.
The new president, Mwai Kibaki, who had ascended to power on the promise of change and reform sought to strengthen the civil service by freeing it from the shackles of the presidency, and equipping it fully.
With this in mind, he entrusted the operation of the state machinery to a technocrat troika of Francis Muthaura, Francis Kimemia and Mutea Iringo.
Sadly, things ended up turning quite differently from what Kibaki had envisioned.
His troika was tampered with after Muthaura was indicted by the ICC, and had to be sacked. Things were further complicated after another ICC indictee, Uhuru Kenyatta, took over power.
On one hand was a president that wanted to monopolise the civil service for legal and political reasons, while on the other hand was a cabal that wielded unchecked powers over a civil service detached from State House.
It was common place to hear Uhuru complain of errant officers in his administration during his first year. Most popular was the incident when he fell short of declaring war on the civil service during a speech in Nairobi, saying that he had the intelligence at his disposal which told him everything senior civil servants were saying, and how they were calling him a passing cloud that will come and go just like the others had.
Then enter Karanja Kibicho.
An unknown fact by many is that Kibicho was actually discovered, not by Uhuru but in fact by his predecessor, Kibaki. Kibaki picked him in 2010 to be the permanent secretary in the ministry of Industrialisation.
Uhuru brought him in the top echelons of power to assist him wrestle power from Kibaki’s power men, and while he successfully did so, it is now turning out that Uhuru might have very well traded one devil for another, as Kibicho straddles across the country with unrestricted might, sometimes in defiance of his boss.
Of course, it might very well be the case that Kibicho does nothing without the acquiescence of the president.