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The enigma of Kibicho: From varsity don to Mr Fixit of Jubilee



In public, Dr Karanja Kibicho walks with the confidence of a big cat. He rarely speaks — and leaves it to his boss, Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, who like him, exhibits a no-nonsense public posture.

Behind the scenes, Dr Kibicho is, without a doubt, the super Principal Secretary, chairing the powerful National Development Implementation Technical Committee, which was formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta through Executive Order Number 1 of 2019 dated January 21.

With that, he has the administrative networks of the national government on speed dial and is Mr Kenyatta’s Mr Fixit. With new powers at his disposal, and support from State House, Dr Kibicho has been an insider in the war on corruption and the reorganisation of the Kenyatta II State.

The January 21 executive order also elevated his boss, Dr Matiang’i, to the supervisory role of government programmes and projects, thus whittling down Deputy President William Ruto’s powers — and denying him a chance to go around the country in the guise of opening and supervising projects, while laying ground for the 2022 elections.

That the duo of Dr Kibicho and Dr Matiang’i has, ever since, emerged as the most powerful Jubilee technocrats is thanks to the lofty position they hold at the Ministry of Interior too, the fulcrum of the Kenyatta Administration.

There is a political price that comes with that — both are loved and loathed in equal measure.

With the Jubilee Party torn into two, Dr Kibicho has turned out to be the punching bag of elements who favour the rise of Dr Ruto as the heir-apparent once President Kenyatta’s final term comes to a close.

In the last two general elections, and before he seemed to have made an about-turn, President Kenyatta had rallied voters in Mr Ruto’s backyard to support him with the promise that he would hand over to his deputy.

Although Mr Kenyatta has not succinctly indicated that he has shifted from that position, his recent political moves indicate a waning of confidence in a Ruto presidency — opting to maintain a studious silence on political developments that may shape his presidency.

When he recently spoke at the Kasarani stadium, and without naming names, he promised those writing him off in his Mt Kenya backyard a battle royale.

The rise of Dr Kibicho from a chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in 2010 to one of the most-coveted positions in President Kenyatta’s government is partly attributed to his resolute tendencies.

“When it comes to loyalty, he has no two sides. He is resolute and confident,” said a confidante who has worked with him.

Ever since independence, the Interior ministry has been the citadel of powerful public servants — the likes of James Mathenge, Wilfred Kimalat, Hezekiah Oyugi, and Zakayo Cheruiyot — with the provincial authority, now under Dr Kibicho, as the centre of rural authority and internal security.

For that, this makes Dr Kibicho one of the most informed public servants on matters security — managing the inner workings of the national government at a time when President Kenyatta fears that he could turn out to be a lame duck administrator in his final term.

While the President intended to use his final term to build his legacy around the Big Four agenda of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and affordable healthcare; the rush by DP Ruto to start an early political campaign seems to have detracted the politicos within Jubilee from their manifesto — and focused, instead on the post-Uhuru realignments, much to the chagrin of Mr Kenyatta.

Without Jubilee politicians, President Kenyatta has now turned to technocrats, the likes of Dr Kibicho, State operatives and intelligence services to manage the government and politics.

More so, he has banked on Orange Democratic Party leader Raila Odinga, whose absence from opposition politics — thanks to the truce he signed with President Kenyatta, has quietened the opposition ranks but divided the Jubilee Party from within. Within Mt Kenya region, Dr Kibicho has been criticised by local leaders, in support of Dr Ruto’s bid, who accuse him of waging a war against the deputy president by using elders — amorphous groupings that have emerged in various counties.

The most vocal critic has been Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, who has accused Dr Kibicho of using a confidential vote in his ministry to do politics and proposed to have it scrapped by Parliament. Dr Kibicho has not spared the critics either, daring them to go ahead.

“If they feel it (the expenditure) is not useful for our country they can scrap it. We have no problem. They can do as they please,” Dr Kibicho told the Nation last week. “Let’s see how far that gets.”

Whether that is a mark of confidence or arrogance depends on whom you ask. But those who know Dr Kibicho say that though he is a man of few words, he never minces his words.

With no love lost between Dr Kibicho and supporters of Dr Ruto, it was not surprising that he was thrown at the centre of the narrative that some Cabinet secretaries from Mt Kenya region were plotting to assassinate the Deputy President.

Monday, the CSs, led by Peter Munya, went to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations but left without recording a statement. Reason? There was still no complainant.

That alone exposed the soft-belly of Jubilee Party. But that Dr Kibicho finds himself being fried in the Jubilee pan is the hallmark of the confusion within the party and how the Kenyatta succession has reached the end of the tether.

He did not wish to be drawn into this discussion; opting to keep quiet.

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Adopt cremation instead of burials, Kenyans urged



Kenyans have been urged to adopt cremation instead of burials in order to save trees and also reduce the cost of resting their loved ones.

According to Rotarian Mburu Machua, using wooden coffins during burials had contributed to the depletion of both indigenous and exotic trees thereby posing a serious global climate change.

He says that the country’s forest cover had continued decreasing due to logging and charcoal burning as well as using firewood in cooking in rural areas.

Machua who is a lawyer said that it would be prudent for the government to encourage people to be cremated if it expects to achieve the globally required 10 per cent forest cover.

‘I have been prevailing upon my clients writing their wills to state that they should be cremated upon their death and believe you me, most of them have embraced the idea’, he said.

He spoke at Bibirioni primary school in Limuru during a tree planting exercise which saw the Limuru rotary club in conjunction with the Limuru municipality planting close to 500 indigenous tree species.

Machua said that the cost of burials has become very expensive compared to cremation which is cost-effective.

‘Being cremated wastes fewer resources than burial more so because one does not incur plot or land fees’, he said.
Several prominent Kenyans including environmentalist Wangari Mathai, Kenneth Matiba, and Bob Collymore were cremated when they died.

Many Kenyans take cremation as a bizarre and unchristian exercise arguing that it’s lack of respect for their loved ones.

Municipality manager Michael Muna said that Kenyans should endevour to live in a paperless society for absolute afforestation to be realized.

Muna who is also the Kiambu West Kenya National Union of Teachers branch secretary said that Kenyans ought to embrace using metals and plastic instead of timber and wood.

‘If only it can dawn on every citizen that trees play a crucial role in our health particular in the prevention of respiratory diseases such as Covid-19, they can choose to voluntarily plant trees in every open space within their localities’, he said.

He said that the municipality is planning to plant trees in all schools and road reserves even as it engages in other development matters such as improving infrastructure.

‘The county government has channeled resources to municipalities from the World Bank and we have used the same in street lighting, drainage, and rehabilitation of bus park and roads’, he said.

He said that tree also prevent soil erosion thereby increasing productivity’s in farming.

The manager encouraged Kenyans to plant indigenous trees and fruits adding that the collaboration between Rotary clubs and the area municipalities envisages planting 1 million trees every year.


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VIDEO: Chaotic scene as woman causes a stir in Meru



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Wife of man who dumped me 5 years ago is my employee – Woman gloats



A Nigerian lady identified as Fanu Omolade has got people talking after a personal experience she shared online.

Omolade took to her page on the micro-blogging platform, Twitter, to reveal how she was dumped by a man because of her condition and how she is winning presently.

Narrating her experience, the young woman said that in 2014, her ex-lover dumped her and married another woman because she was jobless and did not have any money.

However, five years later, Omolade who identifies herself as a blogger on her Twitter bio, revealed that she just discovered that the woman her ex-lover married is her employee.

“Five years ago, he ditched me and married another woman because I was jobless and broke, guess what?? I just discovered his wife is one of my employees,” she wrote.

As expected, netizens took to her comment section to share their opinions about her post.

While some think that the post is trash, some advised her to treat the woman very well.

Other people think that the woman may not need the job because of money and some asked if she would be letting her go after her realisation.

Reacting to the question about sacking her ex-lover’s wife, Omolade said that she will not be doing that.

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