, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – When President Uhuru Kenyatta named his partial Cabinet 10 days ago, it wasn’t certain Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia would be among those who would retain jobs as Cabinet Secretaries given numerous incidents of road accidents and a crippling strike when he was Health CS.
Those in government and in the transport sector were however optimistic that Macharia would make a comeback to the Cabinet citing his previous achievements particularly the role he played in the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway.
To some it was a disappointment as the news of his reappointment was received with disbelief with many expecting that the timing of the announcement would work against Macharia – at a time the country was experiencing baffling cases of road carnage.
It was not to be the case though, when Kenyatta stepped out from the walls of State House to address the nation – Macharia was number three on the list of the Cabinet Secretaries who had been retained.
While making the announcement, Kenyatta was very categorical and clear that he expected nothing less than pure delivery from the men and women that would make it into his Cabinet.
Matatu Association Chairman Simon Kimutai while expressing confidence towards Macharia’s reappointment believes that Macharia will be able to restore sanity in the transport sector adding that Kenyans should be patient with him and allow him to work.
“I am very confident that the minister will be able to execute his role with the seriousness it demands and in my own assessment the President was right in retaining him in his Cabinet. Given time, I strongly believe that Macharia will be able to do what he knows best,” said Kimutai.
Kimutai who seemed to absolve the CS from any blame of failing to do enough to curb the rising cases of road accidents in the country said the CS was not entirely to blame for the carnage.
“Macharia is very consistent in what he does and with time his efforts will be seen by the public. He always tries to gather different stakeholders in the sector and have discussions with them on how the sector can be improved,” said Kimutai.
A series of road accidents that claimed hundreds of lives were witnessed during last year’s festivities with many questioning what the CS was doing to avert the situation.
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua and a member of the Senate Roads and Transport Committee believes that Macharia should have been dropped as a minister saying that he lacks the professional touch in the manner in which he handles affairs at the ministry.
“His casual approach to issues is so worrying and begins to raise question about his capacity to deal with matters transport,” said Wambua.
According to Wambua, all the other retained Cabinet Secretaries should undergo fresh vetting and keen to see him not hold the office, Wambua says that he would rally his colleagues to ensure that Macharia does not retain his seat.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale who holds a contrary view is of the opinion that the retained ministers should not be vetted afresh arguing that the President has the power to reassign a Cabinet secretary whom in turn do not need to take fresh oaths.
National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi is however of the view that those retained must be subjected to scrutiny by Parliament.
President Kenyatta retained six Cabinet secretaries from his first term and named three fresh ones, who have to be approved by lawmakers before they are formally appointed.
All eyes will now be on Macharia who was once highly criticized during his tenure at the Health Ministry with many anticipating that he will be able to clean out the rot and corruption in the transport sector.