PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta spent hours pleading with Anne Waiguru not to quit as Minister for Devolution and Planning.
Multiple State House sources told the Star yesterday that Waiguru went to see the President on Friday afternoon and remained in a meeting with the head of state for several hours.
â€œThe President was not aware that Waiguru was coming to tender her resignation, and so, when she did, the President was shocked and very disappointed that his strongest Cabinet Secretary had decided to leave.
â€œHe tried to convince her to stay on, without success. Even the senior government officials present were unable to convince the CS to change her mind,â€ said a senior government official aware of the key events leading to Waiguruâ€™s resignation.
Waiguru threw in the towel on Saturday in a surprise press conference. She cited poor health and the personal attacks directed at her by critics because of the NYS saga.
Cord leaders led by Raila Odinga had sustained attacks on the former powerful minister over the loss of billions of shillings at NYS, insisting that she should take political responsibility.
Waiguru had previously threatened to resign as the pressure mounted on her to take political responsibility.
â€œThe CS has had moments when she almost gave up. She felt that she was being unfairly treated and attacked, yet even her explanations did not make things any better.â€
Another official told the Star: â€œIt is not easy to withstand all the negative energy. Imagine you are in the news every day for all the bad reasons: Each time you speak, you attract more those determined to insult you, even below the belt.â€
A third official said: â€œHer health problems got worse in the last few weeks and the doctor advised her that a break from all this negativity would help herâ€.
Apparently the CS was away from the office for the better part of last week, on doctor’s orders. It was during the break that the minister consulted some of her very close confidants and advisers before making her decision, which was kept secret until Friday (alerting only the President and an inner circle) and Saturday (the press conference).
The CS also did not share her decision with her close official aides, apparently afraid they would convince her, like they did before, to stay on.
â€œShe wanted to tell the President first and once the President accepted her resignation, she now informed a few more people â€“ but only on Saturday morning.â€
Yesterday, Raila said he has nothing personal against Waiguru and lauded her for finally stepping down.
â€œWhen you step aside it doesnâ€™t mean that you are guilty, but you simply create room for conducive investigations,â€ he said.