Senior government officials, especially administrators across the country, are finding themselves in an awkward position and are having to engage in a clever balancing act to accommodate competing political interests while at the same time avoiding any moves that might upset their bosses in Nairobi.
The simmering tensions came to the fore last week when Deputy President William Ruto confronted Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho, whom he accused of frustrating his tours across the country by instructing regional administration officials not to accord him the necessary government protocols.
Politicians in Ruto’s camp have singled out Kibicho as the one person in government trying to place hurdles in the DP’s quest for State House come the next elections in 2022. They claim the PS has directed county and regional administrators not to attend Ruto’s rallies unless signalled by Harambee House, the Interior ministry headquarters.
The political wars have placed regional and county commissioners in an awkward position, with many now dreading the DP’s visit to their areas.
“We sometimes get conflicting directives, some telling us not to attend the DP’s meetings and others instructing us to accord him the status that befits him,” said an administrator from Central Kenya who cannot be named discussing his seniors.
Two senior administrators in the Coast where Ruto has made numerous visits in the recent past lamented that the wrangles in Jubilee had left them in an awkward position. “The differences among our politicians have seen some of us get threats of being ‘disciplined’ if we don’t follow certain instructions … it’s unnecessary and uncalled for; they should resolve their differences,” one of the officials said.
Two weeks ago, Kiambu County Commissioner Wilson Wanyanga found himself in dilemma when he reportedly tried to stop a church service at Komothai Catholic Church in Githunguri which was graced by the DP.
Wanyanga was at pains to explain to Githungiri MP Gabriel Kago also known as Kago wa Lydia, and the local priest why the service should not continue. He finally gave in and the function went on as the administrator sat in quietly.
Kibicho recently accused Ruto’s office of failing to furnish him with the itinerary of his tours across the country, saying it (DPs) was to blame for the absence of senior security officers at some of his functions. Kibicho further said allegations that the government had withdrawn security from a church function attended by Dr Ruto were false.