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Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i is harnessing the influence of political leaders as he takes up his duty of supervising the Cabinet, as recently announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta in an executive order.

Dr Matiang’i, known for bulldozing through policies such as digital migration and and exam cheating clamp-down strategy, seems to be opting for dialogue with politicians to avoid friction.

This was the path he appeared to have taken following an unprecedented meeting between him and MPs from Nyanza, a region long impoverished by the politics of exclusion but which could start rising from the ashes if the CS’s move is anything to go buy.

On Monday, Dr Matiang’i chaired the meeting in Nairobi with a number of Nyanza MPs and six Cabinet secretaries, in what could be the latest hint of a commitment by the Head of State to develop the region.

Apart from Mr Matiang’i, other Cabinet Secretaries present at the Harambee House meeting were Transport’s James Macharia, his water counterpart Simon Chelungui, Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Agriculture’s Mwangi Kiunjuri.

Finance CS Henry Rotich, who deputises Matiang’i in the team was absent, but was represented by his Chief Administration Secretary Nelson Gachuihie. Technical and vocational training PS Kevit Desai also attended the meeting which reviewed plans for stalled projects as well as new ones as directed by Mr Kenyatta when he visited the region.

MPs present were Nominated Senator Rose Nyamunga, James Nyikal (Seme), Mr Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Mr John Mbadi (Suba South), Woman Representatives Rozah Buyu (Kisumu) and Mrs Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay). Mr Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga), Mr Ochilo Ayacko (Migori Senator), Mr Mark Nyamita (Uriri) and Mr Anthony Oluoch (Mathare), also attended.

The MPs explained how they will be charged with indicating to the national government where to construct a road, build schools, erect irrigation projects or wire power to homes, under a new arrangement to implement the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga. Also to be considered is revival of the sugar industry.

According to political analyst Dr Obora Okoth, the Interior CS is loyal to President Kenyatta and is keen on implementing development as directed by the Head of State especially in a region initially critical of him during elections.

“The move by Matiang’i is a statement that the handshake is working. He has matured politically and therefore now knows which approach he should take to achieve the aspirations of his boss as well as endear himself to the local leadership,” said Dr Okoth.


Monday’s was the first meeting chaired by Mr Matiang’i in his capacity as the coordinator of government development programmes following an executive order by the President.

Mr Mbadi, Mr Atandi and Mrs Nyamunga spoke to the Nation and confirmed that the meeting was a follow-up to one the MPs had with President Kenyatta and Mr Matiang’i in Kisumu when he came to commission the Ahero interchange and the Kisumu-Kakamega Road as well as launch the pilotinf of the Universal Health Coverage initiative.

Mr Mbadi said during the forum between the president and the MPs at the State Lodge in Kisumu, they presented a memorandum to the Head of State and that everything discussed during the Monday meeting was based on that particular petition.

“The meeting was purely for development. We met to fine tune the memorandum we presented to the president to come up with a final product,” said Mr Mbadi.

The Suba South legislator pointed out that the minister was ensuring that their projects are aligned to the relevant ministries.

Mr Mbadi said among the projects being earmarked are the completion of the standard gauge railway, which he said its construction was currently going on well.

He added that the president is keen on establishing Kisumu as a ‘port city’.

“The Head of State is keen on developing Kisumu and this started with the recent launch of dredging of the port and the coming of SGR,” said Mr Mbadi who is in the committee of five MPs looking at roads and infrastructure of the region and coordinating with Mr Macharia.

Also in the pipeline is the construction of a 470-kilometre ring-road along the shores of Lake Victoria running from Bumala on the Busia border with Uganda to Muhuru Bay on the Migori border with Tanzania.

The road will criss-cross Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori counties. “We also talked about the construction of Lichote Airstrip in Migori and expansion of Kabunde Airstrip in the next budget,” said the ODM leader.

The Soin-Koru dam is also among the projects whose completion will be fast-tracked alongside the Mamboleo, Muhoroni Road which has stalled for many years.