A vicious power tussle waged by Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monica Juma against her boss Amina Mohammed, and backed by Jubilee power barons is behind the minister’s looming exit from the helm of the influential docket.
Dr Juma whose nomination as Secretary to the Cabinet was brazenly rejected by Parliament and accused of being “arrogant and insensitive,” sabotaged Mohamed’s work and laid out an elaborate strategy to get her sacked.
The Kenyan Weekly has established that Amina’s recent nomination for chair of the African Union was a last minute decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta after she despaired and threatened to resign.
“The truth is the lady is silently being pushed out. Why would you let go your best performing minister when she was actually poached from the United Nations?” posed a top government official.
Amina was plucked from the lofty United Nations by Jubilee where she worked as an Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Environmental Programme.
When he announced her nomination for the AU job, Uhuru acknowledged Amina’s experience but remained tight-lipped of the power tussle that has almost crippled the ministry.
“Ambassador Mohamed has steered our diplomatic engagement to greater heights. We have benefitted tremendously from regional and international engagements of national and continental significance,” he said.
In July this year, for instance, Juma unilaterally reinstated Ambassador Anthony Muchiri who had been suspended alongside Senator Moses Wetang’ula in the infamous Tokyo Embassy scam in 2011.
She named Muchiri as a senior officer in charge of staffing and human resource rationalisation in her office, creating two centres of power in the ministry.
This is because there exists a directorate of Human Resource Management and Development in the same ministry.
Muchiri was then tasked to lead a quiet taskforce to audit all employments Amina had undertaken in the ministry alongside her former PS Karanja Kibicho.
“Amina was not even aware of the task force. But Juma vowed to discuss the report directly with the President to outline mistakes allegedly committed by Amina and Kibicho,” our source said.
Juma’s strategy together with her Jubilee power baron is to elbow Amina out so as to take over her job.
The game plan also involves promoting Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations Macharia Kamau as the new PS because of his role in scuttling The Hague trials.
Muchiri has since been posted as the Ambassador to Cuba without any Parliamentary vetting, becoming the first Kenyan envoy in the Caribbean nation.
Ambassador Catherine Mwangi, a first cousin to Uhuru and sister to Senator Beth Mugo was also posted to Ethiopia without vetting.
Impeccable sources told The Kenyan Weekly that Director of Multilateral Ali Mohamed, considered a key ally of the Cabinet Secretary, was recently barred by the PS from travelling to the US for the United Nations General Assembly.
His absence left the over 200-member Kenyan delegation that included Deputy President William Ruto and tens of MPs, thoroughly uncoordinated.
“It has never happened since independence. The Director of Multilateral’s core mandate is to coordinate such teams outside the country,” a source familiar with the intrigues revealed.
Staff at the ministry have accused Juma of impunity, blatant ethnicity and openly staging a fight against her boss.
For instance, as she approved the list of Kenyan officials to UNGA, Juma deleted the name of Ambassador Mike Oyugi in Vienna but approved that of his deputy, James Kihurani.
Last week, some 12 secretaries in the ministry, some about to retire, were transferred under unclear
circumstances amid allegations of tribalism in the process.
Amina, born and bred in Kakamega, was considered a moderate without a bias to perceived CORD supporting communities.
Questions are also being raised about the whereabouts of money that was allocated for hundreds of graduates who helped in organising three separate international conferences in the country.
The conferences include the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
On UNCTAD alone, more than 650 youth, mostly jobless graduates, are owed more than Sh24 million.
It is said that UNCTAD cash was released by Trade PS, Chris Kiptoo, who unfortunately does not see eye-to-eye with Juma.
State Department of Trade was hived off from Foreign Affairs and moved to Ministry of Industrialisation headed by Adan Mohamed.
Fingers are being pointed at Juma and three other directors, over the pending pay which is shaping up as a multi-million scandal.
The directors are Nelson Ndirangu who heads the directorate of Economic and International Trade; Joseph
Masila, Director of Planning; as well as David Mutemi of Foreign Service Commission.
The Kenyan Weekly has also established that morale of the staff in the ministry is at all-time low due to repeated delays in staff salaries, amid claims the high-handed PS is running down the ministry.
A memo in our possession dated 27 of last month indicate that salaries will delay once again for the month of September.
“The ministry has been experiencing IFMIS system downtime since September 23 to date, and this is affecting the payment process. Payments to the respective payees may not be released on time due to this disruption. Salaries for September, 2016, may also be delayed,” the memo read in part.
Juma, wife to Jubilee zealot Peter Kagwanja was the only Uhuru nominee Jubilee MPs have rejected. The lawmakers described her as incompetent, arrogant and insensitive.
Since 2013, she has worked in three ministries as PS – Defence, Interior and currently Foreign Affairs.