NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 16 – James Ole Kiyiapi resigned as the Education Permanent Secretary on Monday to launch his presidential campaign.
Kiyiapi announced his exit outside the ministry headquarters at Jogoo House, saying President Mwai Kibaki had accepted his resignation.
“I am exiting the civil service because I intend to run for president in the coming general elections,” the immediate former PS said in his final speech at the Ministry of Education.
Kiyiapi has declared interest in succeeding President Mwai Kibaki in the general election set for March 4, 2013 under the Restore and Build Kenya (RBK) party which he intends to launch this weekend.
“I am profoundly grateful to the president for the opportunity he gave me to serve our beloved country in three key ministries,” he said.
Kiyiapi has served in the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources, Medical Services as well as Education in the last five years.
“This is an opportunity only a few Kenyans out of millions get in a generation,” he said adding: “The Permanent Secretary’s position is the highest and most coveted professional job in public service.”
He said that by resigning, he was not running away from public service but instead responding to a calling to higher level of national service.
“I want to serve Kenyans in a bigger capacity as president,” the 51-year-old professor said.
He said he was grateful to all Kenyans and officials he had worked with at the respective ministries for the period he served in public service.
Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo described Kiyiapi as a dedicated civil servant who has done a great job at the ministry and for the country.
Kiyiapi becomes the first high ranking public officer to quit office to concentrate on his campaigns for public office.
Other officials who are said to be interested in joining politics include Livestock Development PS Ken Lusaka, Administration Police Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua, Nairobi City Council Town Clerk Philip Kisia among others.
Lusaka intends to vie for the governor’s post in Bungoma County while Mbugua has declared interest in the same post in Nakuru County while Kisia wants to capture the governor’s post in Nairobi.