Energy CS Charles Keter moved to stripped down devolution docket
President Uhuru Kenyatta has moved both the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy in what could be a response to challenges within the sector.
In a cabinet reshuffle Kenyatta moved CS Charles Keter to a devolution ministry that has been reduced in mandate, now controlling just over three billion shillings of annual budget.
This as President Kenyatta’s loyal CSs Monica Juma and Eugene Wamalwa moved to Energy and Defence dockets respectively. Sam Gituku reports.
Charles Keter had served at the energy ministry since his appointment in December 2015.
He has steered different projects worth billions of shillings including the last mile electricity connectivity.
And on the day the president received a report from a taskforce formed to review power purchase agreements, statehouse announced the changes.
CS Keter and Principal Secretary Engineer Joseph Njoroge who have served at the ministry for the life of the jubilee administration now leaving the energy docket that controls a budget of 73.8 billion shillings in the current financial year.
Keter has been moved to the once powerful and influential devolution ministry. Only this time,..ts mandate reduced, losing the arid and semi-arid lands department to the public service ministry.
As such, Keter will now oversee a budget of 3.24 billion shillings.
Ambassador Monica Juma who since January last year has been Defence CS moves once again, now to the energy docket.
Part of the recommendations of the taskforce on power purchase agreements are to have existing contracts reviewed and renegotiated by the Kenya power company.
Kenya Power is also expected to undertake a forensic audit on the procurement and system losses arising from the use of Heavy Fuel Oils, a process that will also name all beneficiaries of all contracted independent power producers.
And as CS Juma leaves for the energy docket, Eugene Wamalwa will take her place at the defence ministry, a docket that controls a budget of 119.7 billion shillings.
Labour CS Simon Chelugui has also been affected by the changes.
Even though he keeps his office, the social protection department has been moved to the Public Service Ministry.
As such, Chelugui who previously oversaw implementation of a budget worth 39 billion shillings, will now manage 5.3 billion shillings set for the labour department.
And as PS Dr. Joseph Njoroge leaves the energy department, he moves to the transport department, whose budget is 10.7 billion shillings for the current year.
His place has been taken by Gordon Kihalangwa who has left the public works department. Solomon Kitungu replaces Kihalangwa leaving the transport department for Engineer Njoroge.
Social Protection PS Nelson Marwa may have retained his docket, but will now report to a new CS, Prof, Margaret Kobia of the public service ministry.
In effect, Prof. Kobia who has been managing just two state departments is now in charge of four.
The Gender department has had a budget of 3.66 billion shillings, while public service had 18.89 billion shillings.
The heavily financed social protection department moves with its 33.5 billion shillings to Kobia’s wings, so does the Arid and semi-arid lands department moved away from Keter’s devolution ministry with a budget of 10.1 billion shillings.
Kobia will now oversee the rollout of programmes in the public service and social sectors worth 66.2 billion shillings.
A more powerful docket of four principal secretaries and three chief administrative secretaries.
The changes come ten months to the general election, at a time public officers intent at running for political offices are expected to leave government by February 2022.