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Kiunjuri said the government had deployed two helicopters to help spray the insects in an ongoing locust control campaign/CFM - Sam Wanjohi


Kiunjuri says ‘taken by no surprise’ by dismissal from Cabinet, vows to remain independent

Mwangi, a confident of Deputy President William Ruto, told journalist he’d injured humiliations throughout his 4-year term in Kenyatta’s Cabinet vowing to remain independent and firm/FILE/CFM – Sam Wanjohi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – Dismissed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to dismiss him from Cabinet on Tuesday took him by no surprise.

Kiunjuri, an ally of Deputy President William Ruto, told the journalist he’d endured humiliations throughout his 4-year tenure in Kenyatta’s Cabinet vowing to remain independent and firm.

“I thank God, I have relieved,” the Cs said of his firing insisting that he exit with his head high.

He, however, expressed gratitude to President Kenyatta for allowing him to serve in his government.

Kiunjuri, a shrewd politician with a base in Laikipia County, promised to remain active in national politics more so now that the country is debating the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) ahead of the 2022 General elections.

“Make no mistake. I am not going anywhere, I will be with you around,” the former CS asserted.

With a political experience spanning more than 25 years, Kiunjuri said he is ready to “serve the country in other capacities.”

“For any action, there will be a reaction. You keep it cool; I keep it cool,” added.

He cautioned rivals against attacking him, promising it will be an eye for an eye.

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“The President did not say anything so far, but there are those who without being invited will make statements, if they warrant my reaction, I shall hit back,” the former CS said.

While he was patient to receive questions from the dozens of journalists, he played safe not to directly attack the President or sound ungrateful, often using parables to make his point.

“Even after a cow aborts, it gets another opportunity to sire,” he said after he was challenged about his political future.

In his own words, the President’s “statement is loaded but I will not provoke anybody. Bedroom issues will be addressed in the bedroom.”

He was flanked by leaders from Laikipia County, among them Senator Kinyua Nderitu and later joined by Gatundu South legislator Moses Kuria and Kiambu County Executive Committee Member Karungo Thang’wa.

Kiunjuri is a victim of the latest changes by the President, which saw new faces join the Cabinet and his administration.

“If you are not in the list, so be it, Kenya moves forward,” President Kenyatta told reporters at State House, Mombasa, after reading out the changes.

Despite being a Cabinet Secretary, Kiunjuri has been vocal about critical issues like the BBI, and often issuing “must do” demands for the “Mount Kenya region to support the initiative.”

Kiunjuri is a leading figure in Deputy President William Ruto-leaning Tanga Tanga movement with the ruling Jubilee Party, a political faction rooting for DP Ruto’s presidential bid in 2022.

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He was the only Cabinet Secretary who attended a Mt Kenya leaders’ meeting in Embu County.

Most recently, he sparked memes on social media when he told Kenyans to take pictures of insects they suspect are locusts and post them on social media to enable government officials to strategize on tackling them after locusts were spotted in Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Meru and Kirinyaga.

Kiunjuri was first elected to Parliament in 1997, then representing the Democratic Party, which was at the time led by former President Mwai Kibaki.

He made entry to the Cabinet in 2015, replacing then Devolution CS Anne Waiguru who had faced sharp criticism over a multi-million shillings National Youth Service scandal.

After President Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected in 2017, Kiunjuri was moved to the Agriculture ministry.

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