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BY
OLIVER MATHENGE
PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta has surrounded
himself with a large group of politicians and
businessmen who are helping him make key
decisions in running the country.
Even before he was elected, the President
had a number of men, most of whom kept a
low profile but were very instrumental in
decisions he made along the campaigns.
Though Uhuru likes getting first-hand
information from all those who work in
government, he, like all his predecessors, has
an inner circle of people he regularly consults.
Those around the President say that he is
always keen to ensure that he consults widely
– in and out of State House – before making
key decisions.
“The President, especially likes to know what
Deputy President William Ruto thinks about
any decision that is to be taken. He literally
can’t make a decision unless Ruto has agreed
to it or has given him his opinion,” a State
House insider said.
However, even before going to Ruto, the
President is said to have a number of distinct
groups that advise him on various issues
depending on the matter in question.
Publicly, there are men who are seen to be
the main advisers to the President including
Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and
senior State House officials.
Most of the President’s political and policy
advisers are drawn from persons he has
worked with in Kanu and in the ministries of
trade, local government and finance.
However, there is an “elders club” that
advises the President and who he consults
often. These are men who were also key in
mobilising resources for his campaigns ahead
of the elections.
This group is said to be instrumental in
shaping the thinking of the President and
some of them call him often to share ideas
and suggestions on various sectors in the
country.
This ‘elders club’ is said to be headed by
former Kenya Airports Authority managing
director George Muhoho, who is also Uhuru’s
uncle.
Muhoho is said to have a lot of say in the path
Uhuru has taken in his career over the years
and continues to do so as he runs the
country.
Others who are reportedly part of this team
include Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi,
Family Bank founder Titus Muya, former
Gatanga MP David Murathe, State House
Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua, former head of
civil service Francis Muthaura and former
KenGen managing director Eddy Njoroge.
Muthaura was a key figure in the Kibaki inner
circles and has been close to Uhuru for years.
The two were co-accused at the ICC over the
2007/2008 post-election violence which they
were accused or organising and funding.
The prosecution dropped Muthaura’s case
while Uhuru’s trial is scheduled to kick off on
November 12.
Sources say that Muhoho often chairs
meetings of this group which also includes a
number of other businessmen most of whom
Uhuru relied on when working as Finance
Minister.
“They usually review the state of the
Presidency and also come up with strategies
to help Uhuru in his decision-making
processes,” one insider said.
Uhuru also regularly consults with former
President Moi, who is his political god-father.
The two have met on severally occasions
since Uhuru was announced as the President-
elect.
Moi introduced Uhuru to politics when he nominated
him to Parliament in 2000 and then went ahead to
anoint him as his successor in 2002.
There are two security chiefs who also have the
President’s ear – Chief of Defence Forces Julius
Karangi and Director General of the National
Intelligence Service Michael Gichangi.
Despite their perceived differences, Karangi and
Gichagi have been instrumental in the decisions that
Uhuru has made especially in relation to public
appointments.
But among all the security chiefs, Uhuru is said to
trust CID boss Ndegwa Muhoro the most and even
lobbied MPs heavily to have his appointment
approved.
Among the Cabinet Secretaries, Uhuru is said to have
a closer ear for Najib Balala (Mining), Michael Kamau
(Transport) and Felix Kosgey (Agriculture).
Of the Principal Secretaries, Uhuru is said to be
closest to Kamau Thugge (Treasury), Karanja Kibicho
(Foreign Affairs), and Wilson Songa
(Industrialisation).
The President is also said to have circles of regional
advisers made up of businessmen and politicians
including current MPs and Senators.
“These groups help the President and his Deputy
understand the needs of various regions especially if
he is to go visit those areas. This helps him design
policies that are customised to these regions,” one
Presidential adviser said.
The President also gets counsel from Ruto’s allies
from the URP side of the Jubilee coalition.
Businessman David Langat, Silas Simaywo who is
Ruto’s personal advisor, senator Charles Keter,
Majority Leader Aden Duale and former House
Speaker Francis Kaparo are also members of Uhuru’s
inner circle.
At State House, Uhuru keeps those in the Presidential
Strategic Communication Unit close and holds
regular meetings with them even as early as 6am to
strategise and plan.
The State House PSCU meetings with the President
are also attended by constitutional adviser Abdikadir
Mohammed, Private Secretary Jomo Gecaga and
State House Comptroller Lawrence Lenayapa.
The PSCU team is made up of Manaoh Esipisu (State
House spokesman), Maina Kigaga (First Lady’s
Communication), Eric Ngeno (Speeches), Munyori
Buku (Public Communication), Dennis Itumbi
(Digital) and James Kinyua (Events).
This team was part of the larger ‘Team Uhuru’, which
was responsible for Uhuru’s campaign
communication.
The President also relies on his long-time ally, Njee
Muturi who is now the country’s Solicitor General and
was his campaign manager ahead of the March 4
polls.
Former Foreign Affairs PS Thuita Mwangi is also close
to the President and alongside UN Permanent
Representative Macharia Kamau are among those
who advise Uhuru on foreign affairs.

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