, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – Regional Development Minister Fred Gumo on Friday morning took over as Acting Minister for Local Government from Musalia Mudavadi with both leaders rooting for politics devoid of personalised attacks.
Gumo called on the campaign teams of Raila Odinga and his former ally now-turned-foe Mudavadi to tone down on their media wars.
“The pressmen of Mudavadi and those of the Prime Minister don’t have to fight on behalf of their bosses… it gives a very bad impression. We need to put our country first instead of engaging in unnecessary fights,” stated Gumo.
“If we want to do politics we must do it clean. Let us not engage in war, especially through the press; politics is not the main thing that matters in life but the welfare of Kenyans,” added Gumo who is also the Regional Development minister.
Mudavadi on his part urged for tolerance even in times of divergent political opinions saying that his politics will be issue based.
“As much as we have different opinions we must learn to respect our institutions and learn to move forward in a mature manner. My politics will always be without insults, if any of my people have misbehaved in the past week then they are encouraged to change,” insisted the DPM while handing over the office of Local Government ministry at Jogoo House.
Mudavadi’s press secretary Kibisu Kabatesi and the Communications Director for the Odinga campaign secretariat Barrack Muluka this week traded bitter exchanges following ugly events at a funeral in Sabatia.
Mudavadi resigned both as Minister for Local Government and deputy ODM leader last week to join the United Democratic Forum (UDF) party.
Gumo takes over as acting minister with the daunting task of ensuring that the country passes laws that actualise the process of devolution.
He vowed to balance between his politics and the work of his two ministries as well command support of the staff of his new ministry.
“Sometimes as a politician I have priorities and so if someone wants me to sign some papers and I have organized a rally in Westlands, then I will tell him to wait,” insisted Gumo amid laughter from journalists and senior ministry technocrats who attended the handover ceremony.
Among the Bills on devolution that are pending in Parliament are the Public Finance Management Bill and the County Government Bill which the president declined to sign into law.
As acting minister, Gumo will also be expected to roll out a nationwide civic education program on devolution that has so far cost the government Sh55 million.
The decision to appoint Gumo was reached on Wednesday after the principals of the grand coalition President Kibaki and PM Odinga consulted on the changes.
A one paragraph statement from State House sent to newsrooms read: “After consultations with the Prime Minister, President Kibaki has today appointed (Fred) Gumo as the acting Minister for Local Government.”