Jul 28, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Fred Matiang’i under fire as MPs push for his ouster

Some want him kicked out through an impeachment motion while others want the President to simply rein in Dr Matiang’i, regarded as one of the most powerful ministers – if not the most powerful – in the Kenyatta Cabinet.

The move to kick him out came a few days after ODM leader Raila Odinga castigated the behaviour of police officers in this week’s by-elections and Deputy President William Ruto’s allies started collecting signatures to impeach the CS. As head of the Interior docket, Dr Matiang’i’s docket includes the National Police Service and the Provincial Administration.

In a break from the routine, Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu yesterday accused the CS of subjecting some of his colleagues in government to insults and revealed that Uhuru’s Jubilee faction could team up with Mr Odinga’s ODM and Dr Ruto’s UDA to have him censured.

Protect the government

“There is this one Cabinet secretary who somehow thinks he is untouchable. We get insulted here every day as we protect the government he works for, then he thinks he can run over us the way he runs over everyone else. He will learn that he can’t. Even if we have to pool resources with UDA and ODM and make dealing with him a joint project,” Mr Wambugu wrote on his Facebook page.

He added: “Sometimes you must deal with the crack before it brings down the building. We can’t allow some bureaucrats to keep making our politics harder than it already is, or should be.”

Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki, another ally of Mr Kenyatta, accused Dr Matiang’i of abusing his office and using police officers to infringe on the rights of Kenyans. The MP, however, said President should reshuffle or rein in the minister instead of letting lawmakers impeach him.

“I call upon the President to rein in some of his Cabinet secretaries who are making the government very unpopular. Let the President put his house in order so that we do not have to initiate any impeachment,” he said.

Already, Belgut MP Nelson Koech is leading the collection of the signatures of MPs willing to oust Dr Matiang’i and had by yesterday established contacts with key figures in the ODM parliamentary team keen to seek their support in the ouster motion. The ODM did not confirm that indeed there had been such overtures by Mr Koech.

Mr Koech started the signature drive after observing what took place in the Bonchari and Juja by-elections.

By-elections

However, some of those in President’s camp, among them Jubilee deputy secretary-general Joshua Kutuny, who is also Cherangany MP, said the happenings around the recent by-elections should not be blamed on the CS but Inspector-General of Police Hilary Mutyambai.

“It is wrong to direct the vitriol on Matiang’i because he is not the Inspector-General of Police,” said Mr Kutuny.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni, another ally of the President, said the idea of impeaching the CS is ill-advised as it can destabilise the government. He, however, asked the National Administration and Security Committee of the National Assembly, chaired by Limuru MP Peter Mwathi, to summon Dr Matiang’i and ask him to explain why the police had to use excessive force in Bonchari and Juja.

The demand for the ouster of the CS is part of the growing friendly fire that has been witnessed within the Handshake ranks in recent months between institutions of State and ODM, raising concerns about the future of the truce between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

But National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed yesterday downplayed any suggestion of friction in the Handshake, likening the recent events to contest for political power.

“We are firmly in the Handshake, but remember we remain in our different political parties, which means that we compete for political seats,” Mr Mohamed said, adding: “We can do better going forward. We shall overcome this challenges.”