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Unknown to many, this is now the most powerful man at State House after Uhuru?

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Nzioka Waita, the head of the Presidential Delivery Unit, has emerged as the new power broker at State House, multiple sources reveal.

Mr Waita also doubles as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chief of staff, another position that puts him within arm’s reach of the President, having no executive role at the PDU, since it is run by Andrew Wakahiu, coupled with the fact that the role of the chief of staff is not well defined, Mr Waita has found himself with enough room to wiggle his way across government departments. And he has the President’s ear.

Speaking to the Sunday Nation, Mr Waita said power is a matter of perception and he would not be drawn into discussing whether he is powerful or not.

“I am a backroom person. My work is to ensure that the job I have been given is accomplished. I work at the pleasure of the President,” he said.

Since his appointment, Mr Waita has been instrumental in various decisions that have been made since the President’s second term started.

GROWING CLOUT

He co-wrote Executive Order 1, a powerful instrument that determines the duties of each government department.

He is the face of recent demolitions as the chair of the Nairobi Regeneration Committee. He has also been co-opted into the Cabinet and was prominent in Cabinet photos after the last meeting.

He has a refurbished office once occupied by former secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia.

And he has several deputies. Acting PSCU boss Kanze Dena and Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe report to him, making him the communication boss for the government.

Mr Nzioka has eclipsed Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Comptroller of State House Kinuthia Mbugua.

When he was head-hunted from Safaricom to head the newly created Presidential Delivery Unit, Mr Waita perhaps never knew that one day he would be viewed as one of the most powerful people in the Jubilee administration.

POWERFUL MAN

Cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries, as well as parastatal executives, have been dealing with Mr Waita, thus making his reach in government far, wide and deep.

Previously, Mr Kinyua played this role but, as his time in government nears its end, it is Mr Waita who is slowly stepping into his shoes.

When an audio clip of a phone call between governors Mike Sonko (Nairobi) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) over the arrest of the latter’s wife was leaked, an interesting tidbit passed unnoticed.

On the tape, Sonko is heard saying that his hands are tied and that Mr Waititu should call Mr Waita to have his wife released. It was telling that the elected governors were afraid of the unelected Mr Waita and not President Kenyatta.

“He is the new (Hezekiah) Oyugi, though not as powerful as the Moi man,” a source with knowledge of power manoeuvres in the corridors of power said.

The late Oyugi was a powerful permanent secretary in the office of the President at the dawn of multiparty politics in early 1990s.

DEMONSTRATIONS

When importers of Chinese products mounted a demonstration in city streets, shocking the government for their daring act, it was Mr Waita who scrambled a response to address their woes.

He led a high-powered delegation comprising top officers from the KRA, the Anti-Counterfeit Agency and the Kenya Bureau of Standards to meet officials of the Nairobi Importers and Traders Association, a lobby for small traders, in downtown Nairobi.

He promised them that the President was committed to ensuring that their problems with government agencies would end.

When the Kenya Medical Association and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union opposed the Kenya-Cuba doctors deal, he was again at hand to provide a policy direction over the matter.

He said only experts in areas such as oncology (cancer), nephrology (kidney) and dermatology (skin) would be brought to Kenya.

CUBAN DOCTORS

He defended the Nairobi-Havana deal, saying deploying medical experts to rural areas would reduce the number of patients relying on Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

In June, High Court Judge Onesmus Makau temporarily stopped the implementation of a circular by the head of civil service on the vetting of procurement officers.

Mr Waita took to Twitter to air what was considered as the Executive position on the matter.

“Whereas the Judiciary shouldn’t be condemned wholesale, from today’s ruling by the Labour Relations Court stopping vetting of public officers, two things are now clear for all to see: 1) Corruption is fighting back 2) Agents of impunity have found refuge in court corridors,” Mr Waita wrote.

“No matter how many obstacles are thrown in the way of this fight against corruption, there will be no relenting. It is my prayer that the leadership of the Judiciary upon whom the country has placed a lot of faith will put its house in order. The fight against corruption will be messy and uncomfortable but it must be done for the greater good of the nation,” he added.

OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION

In July, Mr Waita moved to streamline communication in government by disowning several social media handles and setting the record straight on how information is disseminated.

He disowned @PresidentKE and @PSCU_Digital unit as official Twitter accounts and directed that official accounts would be @StateHouseKenya, @UKenyatta, @FirstLadyKenya and @KanzeDena.

“All official communication originating from the President’s Strategic Communications Unit will strictly be communicated through the listed channels,” he said.

“Operational correspondence by PSCU staff to media outlets will be done through officially assigned president.go.ke email addresses.”

He had also made the announcement that saw Citizen TV anchor Kanze Dena appointed the Deputy State House spokesperson in far-reaching changes made in the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit.

Mr Nzioka joined the government in 2016 from Safaricom, where he was the director of corporate affairs.

-nation.co.ke


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Lifestyle

Was soldier’s macabre murder premeditated?

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The gruesome murder of Lazarus Mwangi, 25, a junior soldier, seems to have been well- planned and executed.

Mwangi’s body was mutilated, eyes gouged, all limbs and hands broken. His body was found dumped at Masinga Dam in Machakos on November 22.

On November 14, Mwangi left his residence at Kahawa Barracks in Kiambu county after informing his seniors he was going to pick a parcel he had been sent from Mariakani Barracks in Kilifi.

That was the last time he was seen alive.

Mwangi had been initially posted to Mariakani Barracks in 2016 before his mysterious transfer to Kahawa Barracks in December 2019.

His transfer had, however, raised eyebrows because it is rare for a junior soldier of his rank to be transferred within that time frame.

Yesterday, a senior army official told People Daily that transfers rarely happen, especially with young and inexperienced soldiers.

“If a young soldier has been transferred, such a move can only be considered when he has specialised on a specific field and his expertise are required elsewhere. That is when a transfer can occur,” the officer who sought anonymity said. The deceased is said to have informed his wife, Ms Doris Muhoro, that he had gone to pick a parcel. On the fateful night, Muhoro tried several times to reach her husband but the calls went unanswered. She fell asleep.

However, during the night, Muhoro’s phone was called eight times by a private number at around 3am but she never answered because she was dead asleep and could not hear it ringing.

In Dagoretti, Nairobi the same night at 3am, Ms Jackline Wangeci, Mwangi’s sister, also received a call from a private number.

The caller who said that he was calling from Gilgil in Nakuru informed her that her brother had been kidnapped.

Same day
On November 15, Mwangi’s family shared what had transpired that night and efforts to trace him started the same day.

The deceased kin reported the matter at Kikuyu Police Station where both Ms Muhoro and Ms Wangeci recorded statements on what had transpired since the disappearance of Mwangi.

A detective privy to the investigations, and who spoke to People Daily on condition of anonymity said Mwangi’s phone Global Positioning System (GPS) history was traced to Muthurwa in Nairobi.

The detective further said that already, a woman had been arrested in connection with Mwangi’s death after sleuths attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations traced the people who called him on the day he disappeared.

“The people who called his sister saying they were calling from Gilgil were traced to Kamukunji. Already some arrests have been made,” the sleuth said.

Detectives have also obtained a series of chats between his brother based in South Sudan and an investigating officer. “They killed him after kidnapping him. We believe it was a bait. There was nothing like a parcel he was supposed to pick,” the brother said.

Masinga Police boss Francis Siror confirmed that residents recovered a badly mutilated body and informed them.

Consequently, the police informed the family who picked and transferred it to Thika Teaching and Referral Hospital Mortuary.

An autopsy conducted yesterday established that Mwangi was strangled to death.

by PD.co.ke


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Lifestyle

Shock as woman chops off one-year-old son’s private parts

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Crime Scene Tape
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A one-year-old boy is nursing serious injuries at the Kijabe Mission Hospital where he was admitted after his private parts were allegedly chopped off by his mother.

The boy’s aunt told the Nation that his mother, Winnie Mutheu, fled after committing the act on Thursday.

The aunt explained that as the boy’s father prepared to leave for work that morning, he heard loud, persistent cries from his son and got concerned.

“He asked his wife why their son was crying and she answered that the boy had broken his leg while playing with other children outside the house. My brother then decided to examine his son, only to find no injuries on either of his legs.”

“He went on to remove his son’s clothes and discovered that he had been physically abused,” the aunt said.

Gone into hiding

The couple has lived together for five years and are blessed with two children. There were no reports of conflict between the two when the boy was assaulted.

“The child is still in hospital in critical condition,” the aunt said.

Tigoni Sub County Police Commander Mwaniki Ireri said a manhunt for the woman has been launched.

“The case was officially reported yesterday by the boy’s father. We are pursuing the mother, and we are confident that we shall find her,” said Mr Ireri.

Efforts to get a comment from Kijabe hospital were futile as our calls and text messages went unanswered.

Bizarre as it may sound, cases of women chopping off their sons’ private parts are not new. In May 2018, a Chinese woman cut off her son’s penis just to get back at her husband’s family.

The boy’s manhood was saved by a quick phalloplasty surgery (penis reconstruction operation).

by nation.africa


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Courts

Four children fight claims they were disowned by late MP

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Four children of former Keiyo North MP William Murgor yesterday fought allegations that they had been disowned by their father before his death.

While testifying before the High Court in Eldoret, Ambrose Kiplagat Murgor, one of the four children said to have been born out of wedlock, told the court their father never disowned him or any of his three siblings.

While being cross-examined before Justice Hellen Omondi, Mr Kiplagat said he was a biological child of the late MP, adding that the contrary claims were only made to lock him and his siblings out of the MP’s vast estate.

“My late father never disowned me or my siblings,” Kiplagat told the court.

He said he was born in 1970 at Murgor’s Kaptagat farm before they moved in 1976 to Chesigot farm in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The four – Kiplagat, Oscar Murgor, Sharon Murgor and Faith Murgor – who are children of the former MP’s fourth wife Anna Kimoi, have told the court they were brought up with the other children.

“We were raised together with the other siblings from the different houses. I was in school with my two brothers, Collins and Kenneth, in the same primary school, all along living as brothers,” he added.

He told the court that he did not know the reasons as to why he and his brother Oscar did not get a share of their father’s farms like rest of his siblings.

Kiplagat added that his elder sister Enid Cheptanui filed the case against her step-brother Francis Murgor, Chemutai Murgor and Keiyo North MP Dr James Murgor for excluding them in the distribution of the Sh1.4 billion family estate.

While testifying in the succession dispute, James denied knowing Kiplagat and his three siblings Oscar, Sheila and Faith Murgor.

While James claimed to have only been familiar with them for a few years, Kiplagat on the other hand told the court the MP was well known to him and that he had even campaigned for him.

“I campaigned for him in three elections, and he always introduced me as his brother. When my mother was sick, I was in contact with the MP, who even helped in paying the hospital bill,”

by Stanardmedia.co.ke


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