By BT Reporter
Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) directors have been kicked out of State House three weeks after Business Today exclusively reported of plans to disband the outfit and centralise government communications.
The PSCU team, save for its head Manoah Esipisu, who doubles as State House spokesperson, were ordered to vacate the House on the Hill by Chief of Staff and Head of the Presidential Delivery Unit Nzioka Waita, we have confirmed.
Government sources indicate all government communications, including the presidency, will soon be channeled from a central place – the Government Communications Unit (GCU) – which will be placed under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government at Harambee House. Former NTV manager Wangui Muchiri is currently the head of the GCU and indicates are that she works closely with government spokesman Eric Kiraithe. The GCU is seen as a project of Interior PS Karanja Kibicho. The powerful PS is alleged to be against those in government leaning towards camp Ruto (refer to EALA MP Simon Mbugua’s press statement on 13th May 2018)
According to sources, some of the directors, Munyori Buku (public communications), Eric Ng’eno (messaging), Dennis Itumbi (digital communications and diaspora), James Kinyua (branding and events) and Munira Mohammed, are now operating from Deputy President William Ruto’s Harambee House Annex office.
Dennis Itumbi has identified himself with camp Ruto a strategic move to earn a spot in the Ruto campaign team and eventually get his consultancy with the government renewed.
Most of the government bloggers and other ‘hangers-around-top-operatives’ are under consultancy contracts, they are not permanent employees for they do not hold prerequisite qualifications to guarantee them senior positions like director’ or secretary according to strict rules of public service commission. You can only be a director if you hold bachelors degree and above but PSC has created an exception for persons with diplomas or certificates to hold senior positions on temporary basis/consultancy
Signs that there is no hope of ever returning to State House have begun to emerge after some of them opted to instead align themselves with influential Cabinet Secretaries and parastatal chiefs.
It is said Waita was unhappy with the team, which has previously been censured for lack of discipline and protocol, which sometimes embarrasses President Uhuru Kenyatta and the presidency in general.
This is the third time the team is finding itself in trouble. At one time, then Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua, now the Head of Public Service, also kicked them out of State House for, among others, undermining Esipisu but they wormed their way back after reaching out to the President.
They were also suspended in 2016 but later reinstated by Waita following appeals to President Uhuru but after what was said to have been a thorough dress-down on operations and practice.
The Daily Nation in a hard hitting article concluded they had turned into” lobbyists, challengers, damage control journalists, provocateurs, public relations experts and mischief makers.” This is because they had taken to defending the President and the government by all means possible and generally engaging in politics.
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