Fred Matiang’i certainly needs no introduction. The powerful CS pulls no punches as he goes about executing his mandate.
Not so long ago, a journalist prodded CS to consider offering his candidature for the top seat, if not turning out as someone’s running mate.Matiang’i thundered he had no idea “where this madness is coming from”.
Known to be religious, the straight shooting CS is said to have sworn to continue doing his ministerial mandate without necessarily engaging in politics.
Elsewhere during an interactive session on a online media platform, a participant drew similarities between Matiang’i and John Michuki, the late tough-talking Transport minister of the famous Michuki Rules.
Demanding he runs for president in 2022, the participant asked if the CS was contemplating doing so. Matiang’i replied: “No one knows what future God has planned for. As the Holy Scripture says, ‘we leave the future to the Lord’”.
In all fairness, Matiang’i easily compares with the Omugusii patriarch in former powerful Chief Secretary Simon Nyachae, who actually is the Interior CS’s mentor. Matiang’i was for a long time the former Ford People leader’s personal assistant.
It has widely been believed that it was Nyachae who lobbied to Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint Matiang’i to the cabinet. What’s more, Matiang’i incidentally happens to have followed Nyachae’s footprints, recently being elevated to the equivalent of chief minister if not prime minister.
Since Nyachae’s exit from the political scene, the Kisii community has only had Matiang’i to fly their ‘flag’ at the top leadership level. His star soared when as Education CS, Matiang’i introduced a raft of drastic reforms in a sector then weighed down by all manner of impropriety.
His impromptu stopovers at learning institutions kept school heads on their toes, not knowing when and where the CS would strike next. Together with George Magoha then at the helm of the Kenya National Examinations Council, Matiang’i reined in on examination cheats. Magoha is now Education CS.
Recently, six MPs from the Kisii community declared that they would not allow leaders from other regions to use the community as a ladder to ascend to the presidency.
The legislators Ben Momanyi of Borabu, Joash Nyamoko, North Mugirango, Alpha Miruka, Bomachoge Chache, Samwel Arama, Nakuru West, Vincent Kemosi, West Mugirango and Jerusa Momanyi, Nyamira woman rep said Kisiis are tired of being used by other communities to propel their own to top leadership positions only to later dump them.
Vowing never to be used as a rubberstamp in endorsing others for the presidency, the lawmakers said they would be backing one of their own for the top seat come 2022. At a fundraiser in West Mugirango sub county, they charged that the community had the numbers and leaders with requisite credentials to run this country.
Arama singled out the Interior CS whom he said had what it takes to be the next president of Kenya.
Urging other communities who had previously benefited from the support of the Kisii to reciprocate by backing Matiang’i, the Nakuru West MP declared they have endorsed Matiang’i as their 2022 flagbearer and that there is no turning back.
According to Arama, consultations on a Matiang’i candidature were still ongoing, and it was a matter of time before they set off for the big journey to State House.
Political leaders from the Gusii region have faulted the Jubilee administration for giving them a raw deal during government appointments notwithstanding the community’s overwhelming support in the last general election.
Which begs question: Will Matiang’i – or a Kisii for that matter – be on the presidential ballot in 2022?
From his pronouncements, Matiang’i cautiously does not want to engage in politics at least for now. Those who know him well say entering the murky waters that is the 2022 succession fray would easily provide ammunition to his detractors to attack him.
Already, William Ruto appears to be in a fighting mood having been ignored by the Matiang’i at the time the DP had written a letter to the Interior CS directing him to authorise the importation of the new police uniforms.
Quite characteristically, Matiang’i went public, revealing he was under pressure from a top government official to bend the police uniform deal in favour of some specific interests.
Matiang’i asked the DP to bring the matter before the cabinet, even as it transpired the uniforms had already been imported and were lying at the Mombasa port.