Donald Trump on Sunday announced he will replace Defence Secretary Jim Mattis with his deputy Patrick Shanahan, speeding up the Pentagon chief’s planned exit days after he quit, citing key policy differences with the US president.
Mattis, 68, had said he would leave at the end of February to allow a smooth transition for the next chief of the world’s top military power, but Trump — who was reportedly upset over media coverage of the stinging resignation letter submitted by the defence secretary — moved up the timetable.
“I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defence, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defence starting January 1, 2019,” the Republican leader tweeted.
“Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!”
Trump initially praised Mattis in a tweet announcing his departure, saying that he was retiring “with distinction” and that “during Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made.”
But Trump changed tone two days later, writing on Twitter that he had given Mattis a “second chance” after he was “ingloriously” fired by president Barack Obama, and appearing to take aim at a line from the Pentagon chief’s resignation letter about respecting allies.
“Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S.,” Trump wrote.
The announcement that Mattis would leave the administration came just after Trump stunned Washington and allies abroad in declaring that US troops would leave Syria and significantly withdraw from Afghanistan.
Mattis and others had strongly counselled the often-impulsive president against those moves — and the decorated retired general did little to hide his disagreement with Trump.
“Because you have the right to have a secretary of defence whose views are better aligned with yours,” Mattis said in his resignation letter, “I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues,” Mattis wrote.
Mattis’s announced exit was soon followed by that of another top official, with Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the international coalition against the Islamic State jihadist group, moving up his departure from February to the end of the year.
Trump took to Twitter to criticise McGurk, referring to him as a “grandstander” who was quitting just before his time was up.
Unlike Mattis, Shanahan has never served in the military and has spent most of his career in the private sector.
He spent over three decades working for aircraft giant Boeing, including as vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defence Systems, before moving to the Pentagon as deputy in 2017.
Until Trump finds a permanent defence leader, Shanahan will lead plans for US troops to leave Syria along with a significant drawdown in Afghanistan, both of which critics worry will leave conflict-racked regions at risk of continued and potentially heightened bloodshed.
Mick Mulvaney, who will soon leave his post as White House budget director to serve as Trump’s chief of staff, told ABC on Sunday Trump will not change his mind about the withdrawal, despite this week’s protest resignations.
“I think the president has told people from the very beginning that he doesn’t want us to stay in Syria forever. You’re seeing the end result now of two years’ worth of work.”
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
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Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
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Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
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