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Kenya: Uhuru bizarre appointments and Raila’s hand in them

With the year almost coming to an end, it has been a bumpy ride for Kenyans especially after coming from the electioneering period last year.

The year saw many new transformations after the March 9 handshake between President Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga when they decided to bury the hatchet.

2017 was a painful year for many with the loss of lives that came with the August election and repeat election in October.

But since the March 9 handshake, the country has been in tranquility as Kenyans witnessed Raila visiting Jubilee zones like Kiambu while Uhuru visited Kisumu to launch the first pilot of the Universal Health Coverage.

With Uhuru getting himself criticised for some of his appointments, the handshake came with many goodies for Raila and his close friends.

Raila got appointed as the AU’s High Representative for Development and Infrastructure. He has been awarded with the Black History Month, African Peace Award 2018 and got an honorary Degree at the Jaramogi Odinga University alongside Uhuru.

Raila allies

In what seemed to be a reward for the handshake, Uhuru in July gave Raila’s two key campaign members state appointments

Kathleen Openda was appointed the Chairperson of the Council of the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

Openda was the director in charge of communication and media at the secretariat which ran Raila’s campaign.

Joe Owaka Ager,  NASA’s director of operations, was designated as the Chairperson of the Placement Board for the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS).

NASA CEO Norman Magaya, a former critic of Uhuru, and ODM Secretariat official David Osiany also landed memberships in Kenya Film Classification and Chemelil Sugar boards respectively.

ODM Vice Chair Thomas Mwadeghu was in September appointed to sit in the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority Board while former ODM Women’s League Chair Betty Syengo is in the Board of the Bomas of Kenya.

Former ODM Mps Agostino Neto (Ndhiwa )was selected as a Board member for NEMA, while Martin Ogindo (Rangwe) is a board member of the Agricultural Development Corporation.

Raila’s former aide Caroli Omondi was in June appointed as a board member of the National Oil Corporation of Kenya for a three a year term.

Other key appointments

Chipukeezy

Popular comedian Vincent Mwasia alias Chipukeezy was appointed as a NACADA board member on June 6.

His appointment was met with a lot of criticism but speaking to the Star on phone on December 14, the comedian said he does not pay attention to negative talk but is focusing on his job.

“When I go to the ground, people sometimes don’t take me seriously because they see me as an artist,” Chipukeezy said.

“But my job has really opened my eyes. I have witnessed kids as young as 10 years indulging in drugs and this is something that needs to be addressed seriously. The drug menace is not a Mombasa thing but it is all over the country.”

He said being a comedian hardly interferes with his work because he is committed to ensuring there are drug-free zones all over the country.

“I have been able to rehabilitate a few guys with my personal resources after realizing how much people are struggling with drugs. Before I leave the Board I want to also create job opportunities for the youth struggling with drugs,” the comedian said.

He is set to hold the position for three years.

Moody Awori

Former Vice President Moody Awori was recently appointed by Uhuru as a member of the Sports, Art and Social Development Fund board.

His appointment was met with a lot of criticism, with a majority of Kenyans questioning why a 91 year- old was given the post instead of the youth.

While Uhuru has consistently promised his government is working on providing more employment for the youth, he defended Awori’s appointment.

He linked the youth to rampant corruption when given state jobs saying his trust in them had dwindled.

“If you see how young people we have trusted with positions steal public money, it’s rather I appoint somebody like Awori who I am sure will protect your money to ensure intended developments and services get back to the people,” he said.

Uhuru’s new best friend, Raila also came to his aide saying Awori is a self-sufficient man who does not have the urge to loot from the public.

Speaking in Westlands on December 11, Raila said old age does not mean that someone cannot positively contribute to the country’s development.

“What is chairing a Board? It is a part-time thing. He is just going to dedicate his services to the people,” he said.

Both Uhuru and Raila have urged the youth to instead be entrepreneurs and take advantage of initiatives such as the Youth Fund and KCB 2jiajiri.

Awori is expected to manage the fund, develop infrastructure and facilitate Team Kenya for their national assignment and prepare and submit quarterly reports to Treasury CS Henry Rotich.

By The Star

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