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The Day an Idea Of Arresting Raila Odinga For Inciting two Communities Was Dropped Because The Government Didn’t Know Where to Put Him After the Arrest

Naituli cites one instance while working as a commissioner at the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) under the chairmanship of Francis ole Kaparo when they resolved to arrest opposition leader Raila Odinga for allegedly inciting members of two communities.

“When I approached Kinyua for a second opinion, he just asked me one question: After the arrest, where shall you put him? And when I asked Kaparo the same question, the whole idea was dropped,” Naituli said.

For the last two decades, Joseph Kinyua straddled the civil service like a colossus as he went on to make history as the senior most public officer to have been relied upon by three presidents.

So when the then Head of the Public Service announced his exit from the public service on October 27, as he handed over to Felix Koskei after 44 years in the civil service, few could have imagined his services would still be required.

But unbeknown to many, Kinyua has never left the service, not even for a single day, according to government insiders.

“He has never left us even for a single day as President William Ruto retained him as part of his inner circle. In fact, he has played quite a pivotal role in shaping up the new administration,” a senior government official, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Multiple sources in government say Kinyua was retained in the Executive Office of the President where he undertakes some unspecified duties and only reports to Ruto, though he closely works with his successor, Koskei.

The source said Kinyua, who has been working on contract, could leave government sometimes in June.

And though he operates most of the time from State House, Nairobi, sources say Kinyua has another office at Harambee House which he occasionally reports to.

Ruto’s retention of Kinyua, after having sacked all high-ranking government officials who served under his predecessor, has left tongues wagging.

More baffling is the fact that most of the venomous communication from President Uhuru Kenyatta to his then deputy, Ruto, was relayed through Kinyua.

For instance, in August 2021, Ruto’s Communication Secretary David Mugonyi blamed Kinyua when his boss was denied permission to travel to Uganda.

“When he got to the airport, he (Ruto) was asked to seek clearance from Kinyua. We are surprised. This has never happened in the last nine years,” said Mugonyi at the time.

Kinyua was also part of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) team accused by Ruto and his allies of allegedly attempting to frustrate his presidential bid.

According Prof Gitile Naituli, a political analyst and lecturer at Multi-Media University, Kinyua may have been retained due to his wealth of experience in public service, critical and strategy thinking on politico-government issues and maturity.

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