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Big losers who missed out on government jobs

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s announcement of his cabinet appointments on Friday was not good news for some political players who had hoped to retain their jobs or to be appointed to government.

While several Cabinet Secretaries lost their cabinet portfolios, redeployment to foreign Embassies and High Commissions could be viewed as soft landings.

Among the cabinet secretaries who will soon leave the country in their new capacities as diplomats are former Environment CS Judi Wakhungu (France), former Mining CS Dan Kazungu (Tanzania), former Lands CS Jacob Kaimenyi (Kenya’s envoy to Unesco) and former Health CS Cleopa Mailu (Ambassador to the UN, Geneva).

Others are former Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs Phyllis Kandie (Belgium and Luxembourg), former Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts Hassan Wario (Austria) and Kenya’s new Ambassador to India Willy Bett who is the outgoing Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries.

But arguably the biggest losers are those who came out empty handed, even after their fervent support for the president albeit belatedly. The ones who stand out are:

1. Paul Otuoma – After a long running love-hate relationship with the ODM party, the former Funyula Member of Parliament, walked out of the opposition outfit after the tumultuous and chaotic party primaries.

The former ODM national vice chairman, a once close confidant of party leader Raila Odinga, eventually run for Busia gubernatorial seat but lost to Governor Sospeter Ojaamong.

Having sacrificed party loyalty and burning bridges with the opposition honchos, his only hope to remain politically relevant would have been a government appoint. He didn’t get one.

2. Hassan Omar – Like Otuoma, the former Mombasa Senator was once an astute member of the opposition in his capacity as the Wiper Party secretary general. His political fortunes however started dwindling when, against better judgement and Nasa’s official position, he chose to run against ODM’s Hassan Joho for Mombasa governor.

Come August 8, 2017 he was soundly trounced by Joho and shortly after he announced his resignation from the Wiper party, whose leadership he accused of practicing double standards.

That marked a watershed point in his political career as he would later embrace the Jubilee party and endorse President Uhuru Kenyatta.

All that has come to nought for the former vocal human rights advocate, who early this week filed an application seeking to withdraw a petition challenging his Joho’s election.

3. David Musila – Another Wiper party loyalist-turned-dissident who chose to ditch the opposition in the run up to the August general. The former Wiper Party Chairman however suffered a heavy loss to Charity Ngilu in the Kitui gubernatorial race.

Interestingly, at the time Ngilu was only returning to the opposition after a fallout with President Uhuru Kenyatta under whom she briefly served as a cabinet secretary.

Going by remarks he made after his loss to Ngilu, Musila would clearly have taken any job offers from the president for his earnest support, although belatedly.