NAIROBI, July 11 – President Mwai Kibaki on Friday appointed Environment Minister John Michuki as the acting Minister for Finance replacing Amos Kimunya who resigned on Tuesday.
A statement from State House also stated that Public Works Minister Chris Obure would double as Minister for Roads following the demise of Kipkalya Kones last month.
The statement indicated that the appointments take effect immediately.
Michuki’s appointment was welcomed by nominated MP Musikari Kombo.
“John is a worker and he will work. I think he will hold the portfolio quiet effectively,” Kombo told Capital News on phone.
His sentiments were echoed by Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo. “Michuki has always been a good minister despite his thorax way of doing things,” Midiwo said referring to Michuki’s abrasive style of management.
The new man at the helm of Kenya’s purse was born in 1932 in Kangema, Murang’a district. He joined the civil service after his ‘O’ level and was appointed to the provincial administration as a clerk in 1957.
He was promoted to district officer in 1961.
That same year Michuki joined Oxford University on a government scholarship, to study public administration and economics at Worcester College. Upon graduation, he was appointed district commissioner to Nyeri.
This will not be Michuki’s first time at the finance ministry. He was first posted to the Treasury in 1963 as an Under Secretary.
Michuki was promoted to deputy Permanent Secretary to the Treasury in 1964 and appointed Permanent Secretary the following year. In his new position he represented the government on numerous boards and in various capacities, including as alternate Governor for Kenya on the boards of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
He retired from the civil service following his appointment as Chairman of the Kenya Commercial Bank in 1970 and left thereafter for the private sector.
Michuki was appointed minister for Transport and Communications by President Kibaki when the NARC government assumed power in 2002. He was moved to the Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration in 2005 after President Kibaki re-organised his Cabinet following the 2005 referendum.
After the 2007 elections Michuki was appointed Roads minister before been moved to environment in the coalition cabinet.
His tenure as Minister of Transport and Communications is best remembered for the tough "Michuki Rules" which stated that all matatus and buses in Kenya had to install speed governors and passenger safety belts. Consequently statistics indicated that the country recorded a decline in accidents by a record 74 percent.
As Minister for roads the no nonsense administrator raged on non performing contractors managing to cancel a couple of licenses.
At the security docket he will be remembered for his rein on the outlawed Mungiki sect though his tenure was tainted by the infamous raid by police officers at the Standard Group offices and accusations of extra judicial killings of suspected Mungiki members.
The 58 year old Bobasi MP was the last man at the Treasury under former President Daniel Arap Moi’s regime. His one year stint at the finance docket was however adversely mentioned in the controversial tender for the supply of security systems to the Kenya Police. He was later to lose his seat at the 2002 general election.
Obure made a come back during last year’s poll under the Orange Democratic Movement and made it to the coalition cabinet. He had also served as an agriculture minister in the KANU regime.