Opinion
Uhuru’s top performing Cabinet Secretaries in 2016
, by Nelson Omwenga

 Fred Matiang’i (Education)

Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Okeng’o Matiang’i’s efficiency, tenacity, and leadership are growing by leaps and bounds. Matiang’i is coming to his own as one of the most efficient and effective performers, having brought sanity to the education sector. Beside his random impromptu walk-ins in several schools across the country, Matiang’I walked the tightrope and reduced the scourge that was cheating in national exams. He changed term dates, stood the storm of school fires, and insisted that there would be no prayer day in schools in third term.

The 2016 KCPE results were released on December 1; this was impressive since the results are always released after Christmas. Only 21 cases of cheating were reported but they were intercepted. Students are expected to join high school starting on January 9, according to his directive.

Joe Mucheru (ICT)

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru is as cool as they come. Mucheru has been at the forefront of the Digital Literacy Programme, launching it in various educational institutions across the country. This, remember, was amongst the major election promises by the Jubilee Government. Quietly, the programme rolled out under Mucheru’s watch.

Then there’s that famous picture where Mucheru and Facebook Founder Zuckerberg had lunch, a happy plate of fish at Mama Oliech's eatery in Yaya Centre. Mucheru, a lover of innovation and startups, has been at the core of innovation camps and seminars, speaking in a majority of the m, including this year’s Nairobi Innovation Week.

James Macharia (Transport)

While the country was reeling in the mess that was Kenya Airways, Transport CS James Macharia came in and pulled decisive decisions in an attempt to rescue the carrier. Under him, the SGR construction has moved into the second phase. Various road projects have kicked off across the country, starting right from the city where Outerring Road is being expanded.

Charles Keter (Energy)

During his Jamhuri day speech, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Government had connected more than 2.5 million households to the national power grid. At the heart of this initiative, the last mile connectivity programme, has been Charles Keter. The CS has worked round the clock to ensure electricity connection costs go down.

Just last month, Keter said the government will review all power purchase agreements to cut down power costs. Earlier this year, Keter cracked the whip on Kenya Power staff that misled his ministry on the progress of electricity connection to schools. He also put some agents on notice to start producing electricity from steam wells or have their contracts terminated.

Joseph Nkaissery (Interior and Coordination of National Government)

During his appointment, the country was at the behest of constant terror attacks. Months later however, Nkaissery managed to contain the situation. Apart from pockets of incidences here and there, the situation is far better than was under his predecessor. Under him, there has been a crackdown on hate speech; just this year, six politicians spent chilling nights behind bars at Pangani police Station, a show that not only underlined the seriousness of hate speech as a crime, but also proved that no one was above that law. During his appointment, Nkaissery was an opposition MP, but has served under the government in exemplary fashion.

Amb. Amina Mohammed and Najib Balala (Foreign Affairs and Tourism)

Talk about putting Kenya on the global map, and you’d have to mention these two cabinet secretaries for the effort they have put in. Global leaders have toured the country this year, amongst them The Indian Prime Minister's Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was in the country for a three-day State visit.

For all their effort, Kenya was ranked by Ernst & Young (EY) Africa as the top most preferred investment destination in East Africa. Kenya hosted the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development this year, as well as the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

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