NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto have signalled their intent to raid the corporate world with their choice of the first nominees to the Cabinet.
Out of the four nominees picked, two are from the corporate world. They are Fred Okengo Matiang’i (ICT) and James Wainaina Macharia (Health).
The other nominees are Henry Rotich (National Treasury) and Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs) who have served in government before.
The Head of State said he would announce the remaining 14 names after more consultations, while urging Parliament to begin working immediately to vet the first four nominees so that the Jubilee government can start working within the shortest time possible.
“This has been an exercise that we have been undertaking for the last week and we will continue to undertake. I will therefore be announcing a few names as we go along,” he said.
The highly anticipated list has been a closely guarded secret giving rise to numerous rumours about the nominees. But none of the four Kenyans, who were unveiled on Tuesday, were in any of the lists.
The nominees have enviable records in the public and private sector.
Matiang’i has consulted for the World Bank, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Inter-parliamentary Union as well as the United Nations Development Programme.
He is a governance and programme implementation expert and the immediate former country director of the Kenya Parliamentary Support Programme.
The married father of two has also taught at the Egerton and Nairobi universities.
“He is leaving his current position as the Eastern African regional representative for the Centre for International Development, Rockefeller New York, to join our government as the Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and Technology,” announced Kenyatta.
Matiang’i pledged to serve with zeal if he was eventually appointed.
“I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for affording me an opportunity to join the dynamic Jubilee team and the opportunity to make a contribution to the development of our country,” he said at State House.
Macharia, the nominee for Secretary of Health has been the Group Managing Director of NIC Bank, a position he has held since 2005. He saw the bank grow more than tenfold with five subsidiary companies including Tanzania and Uganda.
Kenyatta said the married father of two has worked in Zambia and Tanzania as the Managing Director of the African Banking Corporation.
He was selected by Deloitte & Touche to train as a Chartered Accountant in London and joined Standard Chartered Bank in 1989, rising to become Financial Controller in 1994.
Macharia promised to revitalise health even though he was coming from the banking sector.
“I believe that there is no single challenge which cannot be overcome. Throughout my time in the corporate world we have encountered many challenges and I believe with passion and team work everything can be achieved,” he argued.
Rotich has been the head of macro-economics at the Treasury since March 2006. He has a rich background in formulating macro-economic policies that ensure an affordable and sustainable path of public spending aimed at achieving the government’s development priorities.
While reading out Rotich’s rich résumé in finance, Kenyatta said that his Treasury nominee was involved in the preparation of key budget documents including the Budget Statements and providing strategic coordination of structural reforms in the area of fiscal and financial sector.
He was at one time attached to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) local office in Nairobi to work as an economist. He has also consulted on macro-economics in Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
The married father of two has also supported the designing of macro-economic convergence criteria of the proposed East African Monetary Union.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Henry while I was also at the Treasury and I would like to introduce him as our nominee for Cabinet Secretary in the National Treasury,” revealed the Head of State.
Rotich said he was humbled by the nomination, and expressed his gratitude to the president and his deputy.
“I want to thank the president and deputy president for the trust and confidence they have entrusted in me to spearhead the economic management of the country at this very challenging time,” he said.
Amina Mohamed is currently the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme at Nairobi.
She is also the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs and a former Ambassador of Kenya to the United Nations in Geneva.
The seasoned lawyer is also a diplomat by profession and has served in the public service since 1985.
The married mother of two has also worked in the ministries of Local Government and Foreign Affairs.
“I am humbled and I feel privileged and uniquely honoured and I will be waiting for your instructions on what I should be doing next,” she said.
The names will be forwarded to Parliament for vetting and approval before they are cleared for appointment.