Uhuru's love for old-guard in appointments angers young Kenyans


President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenyans have expressed displeasure with the appointment of former Othaya MP Mary Wambui to head the National Employment Authority.

Ms Wambui, the woman who thrust herself into the limelight after claims emerged that she was former President Mwai Kibaki’s second wife, was handed the big job by acting National Treasury CS Ukur Yattani.

But this is not the first time President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration is appointing retirees and perceived ‘old people’ to take charge of critical state agencies.

On Monday, Mr Kenyatta appointed Jeremiah Matagaro to the public service, raising questions about Jubilee administration’s love for old faces at the expense of young people in state appointments.

Mr Matagaro will chair the State Corporations Advisory Committee for a three-year period.

The changes also saw Cyrus Gituai, who served as Internal Security PS in Mr Kibaki's first-term, make a comeback to the public service.

Before his appointments to the Cabinet, Mr Gituai served as a district commissioner.

The return of the old guard in Uhuru’s administration is hardly surprising as the trend has been there for all to see.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua is 68, well over the mandatory retirement age of 60.

Late last year, former Vice President Moody Awori, 91, was appointed to chair the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund.

President Uhuru also picked Stephen Karogo to chair the Public Service Commission, even though at the point of his nomination, he was slightly over 60 years.

MPs vetting him for the position questioned his ability to adequately serve given that he had hit the mandatory retirement age of 60 years.

“Do not focus on my age, rather at the wealth of experience I bring on the table in this new role,” he told the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security.

Retired General of the Kenya Defence Forces Julius Karangi chairs the NSSF board after his retirement from the military, while 72-year-old Francis Muthaura is in charge at Kenya Revenue Authority board.

Just last week, the National Assembly approved Esther Murugi to sit in the National Lands Commission, even though she is 66.

In a bid to stop recycling and re-appointment of senior citizens to the public service, Starehe MP Charles Njagua has filed a motion in the National Assembly to reduce the retirement age to 50 from the current 60.

He says his motion will help address the high unemployment rate among the youth.

"Noting the mandatory retirement age for public servants is set at 60 years, this House urges the government to review mandatory retirement age in public service from current 60 to 50 years," reads the motion.

Documents presented to parliament by the Public Service Commission (PSC) detailing the breakdown of civil servants by age cluster revealed that at least 11,879 civil servants were aged between 51 and 60 years.

A further 12,057 civil servants were aged between 56 and 60 years, while there were about 399 civil servants who had attained the age of 60 years or above.