Mr Wilson Sossion had hoped to ascend to the most lucrative positions after losing in the last elections, but his ambitions were cut short by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Other bigwigs in the camps of President William Ruto and Raila Odinga also suffered a major setback after their application for the plum principal secretary jobs were thrown out by the PSC.
Some of the individuals who were left out in the shortlisting – with interviews kicking off on Wednesday – had shown interest in various elective seats but lost in party primaries or in the General Election.
An analysis of the list of applicants released by the PSC shows the names of the likes of Wilson Sossion, former Ndhiwa MP Agostinho Neto, Justina Wangui Wamae, former Bomet Senator Christopher Lang’ata, former Emgwen MP Alex Kosgey, former Lamu Senator Anuar Loitiptip, Farmers Party leader Irungu Nyakera, former Laikipia woman representative Cate Waruguru and former Turkana Central MP John Lodepe.
Others are former National Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge, government’s spokesperson Cyrus Oguna, Amani National Congress (ANC) director of ICT Nathaniel Mong’are, former Nyandarua Speaker Wahome Ndegwa, Mining and Petroleum Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) John Mosonik, and Kanu Women Congress national chairperson Betty Adera.
Also on the list are United Democratic Movement (UDM) secretary-general David Ohito, former nominated Senator Alice Milgo, ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi’s spokesperson Kibisu Kabatesi, former Kamukunji MP Simon Mbugua, former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara, former Chesumei MP Wilson Kogo and former Rangwe MP Martin Otieno Ogindo.
The PSC had initially released the names of 477 shortlisted for the PS jobs after receiving 9,154 applicants, but it then expanded the list to 585 candidates. This means that 108 persons were added.
The agency had on Friday night cancelled an earlier list of shortlisted candidates for the position of principal secretary and issued a new, expanded one.
The commission said it had reviewed the number of shortlisted candidates “in order to increase inclusivity with regard to gender, the marginalised and minority groups, the youth and persons living with disability…”
After ditching Mr Odinga’s camp for Dr Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza, Mr Sossion vied for the Bomet senator’s seat, but he lost to Hillary Sigei in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nominations in April.
After losing to Senator Sigei, Mr Sossion, who was once an ODM-nominated MP, was quick to throw political brickbats at the UDA top brass over what he called bungled nominations. But in late April, he mended fences with President Ruto and vowed to campaign for him.
Dr Mosonik – a former Mining and Petroleum chief administrative secretary, who was seeking the party’s ticket for the Bomet governor’s seat alongside Governor Hillary Barchok and Dr Lang’at – and Mr Sossion got into an acrimonious exchange on April 14 over allegations that some ballot papers had been pre-marked.
Dr Mosonik, Dr Langat and Mr Sossion accused Governor Barchok and Mr Sigei of allegedly masterminding the nomination malpractices to skew the vote in their favour. All the three applied for PS jobs but never found their way to the list of shortlisted candidates.
Ms Wamae was running mate for Roots Party’s presidential candidate George Wajackoyah in the August polls.
The Roots Party garnered a measly 61,969 votes, about 0.44 per cent of the valid votes cast. Ms Wamae has been vocal about legalising marijuana.
However, last month, she resigned from the party, saying: “My role as Roots Party of Kenya Presidential Running mate lapsed with the [victory] of President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on August 15, 2022 and subsequent upholding of the election [results] by the Supreme court of Kenya on September 5, 2022.
“In this regard, I tender my resignation as a member of the Roots Party of Kenya. Kindly accord the ORPP the requirements for my name’s prompt removal from your party register.”
Mr Nyakera, whose party is among 15 under the umbrella of Kenya Kwanza, vied for Murang’a governor but lost to UDA’s Dr Irungu Kang’ata.
Ms Waruguru vied for the Laikipia East parliamentary seat and lost to The Service Party (TSP) boss Mwangi Kiunjuri, while Mr Kosgey lost to Senator Samson Cherargey in UDA primaries.
Mr Lodepe, the UDA candidate in the Turkana gubernatorial race, was outsmarted by ODM-backed Jeremiah Lomurukai. Mr Lomurukai bagged 66,631 votes to beat Mr Lodepe, who polled 33,639. In third position was former Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes (Jubilee ticket) with 41,866 votes.
Mr Loitiptip lost in the Lamu senator race to Joseph Githuku. Mr Githuku garnered 12,091 votes against Mr Loitiptip’s 2,238.
Mr Magara, who applied for the PS but failed to make it to the shortlist, had resigned from Dr Ruto’s UDA in February as its national treasurer, citing lack of democracy.
He joined Azimio la Umoja One Kenya and vied for the Kisii senator seat under Jubilee but lost to ODM’s Richard Onyonka.
Mr Mbugua vied for the Starehe MP’s seat under UDA but lost to Jubilee’s Amos Mwago. Mr Mwago garnered 50,777 votes against his closest competitor Mr Mbugua (UDA), who received 35,548.
Some of the individuals who are being interviewed for the PS jobs by the PSC are those close to President Ruto and those with links to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Besides politicians eyeing rewards for their contribution to President Ruto’s victory, another conspicuous person added to the new list is IEBC Commissioner Boya Molu.
It has emerged that Mr Molu, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and Commissioner Abdi Guliye will proceed on their three-month terminal leaves next month before retiring by January 18.
Mr Molu was one of the commissioners who defended Dr Ruto’s victory when the breakaway commissioners – vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Irene Masit, Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya – distanced themselves from the declaration of Dr Ruto as winner, describing the process as opaque.
Former Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo, the running mate of Mike Sonko in the Mombasa governor’s race, was also on the list.
After Dr Ruto struck a consensus between former Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal and Senator Steve Lelegwe in April, the former was included on the latest shortlist perhaps to be rewarded for sacrificing his own ambition. Mr Lenolkulal had been absorbed into the presidential campaign team.
Others added to the list include former Prisons Service boss Wycliffe Odiwuor Ogallo; Stephen Ikua, director-general and CEO of the Lapsset Corridor Development Authority (LCDA); Yusuf Mohamed Fazul, ex-CEO of the NGOs Board; Stella Aura, the Kenya Meteorological Department director; Silvia Kihoro, former nominated MCA in Nairobi; Paul K Ronoh, acting ICT Authority boss; and former Mining PS Patrick Omutia.
The leaders who are President Ruto’s lieutenants on the PSC list of PS candidates include his close confidant, former Kinango MP Benjamin Tayari, Michael Kingi (former Magarini MP), Patrick Mariru (Laikipia West), Sylvanus Maritim (Ainamoi), Lemein Korei (Narok South), and former Kisii deputy governor Joash Maangi, who lost to ODM’s Mr Onyonka in the Senate race. They were on the initial list too.
Another key person on the list who is close to Dr Ruto is former Nairobi deputy governor Jonathan Mueke, who lost in the polls to Wiper’s Julius Malombe in the Kitui gubernatorial election.
It is also worth noting that around 80 percent of former President Uhuru Kenyatta principal secretaries were shortlisted, as well as several former security bosses. Some of them had resigned in February this year to vie for elective seats but were rejected by voters.
The conspicuous principal secretaries who served in the Kenyatta administration are Dr Chris Kiptoo (Environment and Forestry), Esther Koimett (Broadcasting and Telecommunications), Peter Kaberia (Industrialisation), Belio Kipsang (Regional and Northern Corridor Development), Julius Jwan (Education), Saitoti Torome (Planning), Francis Owino (Agriculture), Jerome Ochieng (ICT and Innovation), Charles Hinga (Housing), Margaret Mwakimu (TVET), Nelson Marwa (Social Protection), Fred Sigor (Wildlife), Susan Mochache (Health) and Fatuma Chege (Education).
Those who also served in the previous regime include Joseph Irungu, Ali Noor Ismail, Andrew Tuimur, Micah Powon, Simon Nabukwesi and Sarah Ruto, among others.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Mercy Mwangangi and her Interior counterpart Winnie Guchu also found their way to the list.
Others are Alfred Cheruiyot, Charles Sunkuli, Enosh Momanyi, Ntiba Micheni, Julius Korir, Josephta Mukobe, Kevit Desai, Nicholas Muraguri and Safina Kwekwe.