By People Daily
Former Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku is still a minister, enjoying all the privileges and perks that go with the position, the People Daily has reliably established. Despite having been replaced as the Cabinet secretary for Interior ministry by Joseph Nkaissery, Lenku has remained a CS without portfolio.
Lenku, who was removed from the powerful security docket last year by President Uhuru Kenyatta following a hue and cry over insecurity, is now said to be lined up for a full comeback to Cabinet in an expected reshuffle.
Since his removal from the Cabinet, Lenku has retained his full security detail, salary, allowances and government vehicles associated with a Cabinet secretary portfolio.
The People Daily has reliably learned that Lenkuâ€™s name has been mentioned in relation to a proposed Tourism ministry which is expected to be hived off the current East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism docket currently held by Phyllis Kandie.
Sources indicated that the President is expected to make a Cabinet shuffle that would see at least one or two current Cabinet and several Principal secretaries lose their prestigious positions. Former Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi is tipped to be appointed to one of the influential Cabinet positions.
Lenku was removed from the powerful ministry last December a move that coincided with former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyoâ€™s resignation. At the time, there was mounting pressure for the President to sack the duo following an unprecedented wave of insecurity.
Lenku has since kept a low profile, but is said to have been reporting daily to his government office on the second floor of Harambee House. Reached for comment yesterday, Lenku was cagey on the issue, only saying: â€œLet us discuss that on another day, but for the time being I am not complaining. I am quite comfortable with everything.â€
However, up to yesterday, information on the official government websites, including one under the Presidency, still indicated Lenku held the security docket. Efforts to get a comment from Joseph Kinyua, the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service and Director of Cabinet Programmes, at State House, on the official status of Lenku were futile.
He did not respond to calls. But an official who sought anonymity played down Lenkuâ€™s presence in his former office and enjoyment of the full trappings of a Cabinet secretary, saying he had not been officially sacked by the President.
Under the proposed plan, the expertise of Lenku, a former hotelier who led an illustrious career as the head of Kenya Utalii College, is set to be tapped and fully used in the tourism sector which is currently reeling from the effects of insecurity.
Critics have in the past proposed that tourism, which is one of the top revenue earners, be made an autonomous docket for effective administration. Tourist arrivals in Kenya declined sharply in the first three months of this year amid increased attacks by the Somali terror group, al Shabaab.
In January, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statisticsâ€™ monthly Leading Economic Indicators report for March, a paltry 50,953 tourists came to Kenya, down from 95,759 in 2014 and 111,984 in 2013. Of the tourists, the bulk (40,846) came through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) while the rest (10,107) through Moi International Airport, Mombasa.
In place of Lenku, Uhuru tapped retired army general and Cord MP, Nkaissery, to be the new Interior CS, in charge of security.