Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Monday, 9 February 2015

Ruto office top staff fight for accounts control

Fear has gripped top civil servants working in the office of the Deputy President William Ruto after a senior officer in charge of intergovernmental liaison office Jasper Mbiuki left the office after he allegedly differed with the influential chief of staff, Marryanne Keitany.
Mbiuki was shown the door after he allegedly questioned how Sh200 million meant for liaison office development projects was utilised.
According to an officer in DP’s office, who witnessed a bitter argument between Mbiuki and Marryanne along the corridors on third floor, the two almost engaged in physical confrontation but were prevented by two cleaners who pleaded with the two to solve their problems amicably.
“I am telling you a serious confrontation could have ensued between the two over the management of the funds. Mbiuki was so bitter that Marryanne could handle such finances without consulting the concerned persons,” said the source who sought anonymity.
Mbiuki accused Marryane of frustrating civil servants working in the office while she enjoyed lavish life.
“Civil servants are demoralised in this office because of you unlike their colleagues in State House. You should not think that you will be in this office forever. There were very many people who were extremely powerful during the Kanu regime but they are now ordinary people out there,” Mbiuki was said to have told her.
The source further said several officers are seeking transfers out of the office claiming that working there was hell as few people continue to enjoy the fruits of the government while the junior officers who do a lot of work even during odd hours are frustrated.
Sources said Mbiuki is set to get an office at State House as he played a greater role in success of TNA activities in the country.
The source said several contractors who have been given tenders to supply goods to the office of the deputy president must first be cleared by the chief of staff and the procurement officer’s work is irrelevant as he has no say.
The source said a contractor who had won the tender to supply equipment such as cameras, laptops, and cabinets was replaced by a contractor on directive from the chief of staff.
“Here everything is controlled by one person. It is the chief of staff who says who and who should be awarded a contract even in the supply of small things like pens and books. That’s why her area of interest is the accounts department,” said a source in the procurement department.
Another source said other top officers like the principal administrative secretary, secretary administration and even private secretary cannot dare face the chief of staff even if things go wrong.
“This lady is so powerful that even when she walks around, officers are forced to stand at attention because if you don’t stand up, she will stop and ask about your details,” said a casual officer working there.
The source said the chief of staff has taken advantage of the fact that Ruto is preoccupied with his cases at ICC and does not know what is going on in his office.
“To be sincere, I don’t know if Ruto knows what is happening in his office. This man was very good when he was minister for Agriculture. He promoted people when he was there but I do not really know what happened. Maybe when leaders go a notch higher, they forget where they came from,” said the source.
The source further said officers at State House enjoy free meals, extraneous allowances from a gardener to the chief of staff, Joseph Kinyua but in DP’s office, only a few enjoy these allowances. It is really sad, as people have no heart and sympathy for the junior officers,” our source added.
It was only recently that there was drama in the same office when head of procurement Christopher Keter was shown the door by Keittany over fallout in procurement of tenders and supplies to the DP’s office.
Sources familiar with the goings on at BP and Shell House told this writer that the DP’s chief of staff is fighting to reduce the number of those with direct influence to DP as she creates her own fiefdom and power base around Ruto.
The head of procurement is said to have effectively removed his department from the tentacles of Keittany, prompting a fierce span of control war which has now seen him being shown the door on a bright Monday like this in Nairobi.
The ripples of this sacking has led to panic in the procurement department following what befell officials in the Office of the President where over 100 senior and middle level finance and procurement officers were sent home packing.
The source further said that even now the chief of staff does not want to entertain people seeking for employment opportunities.