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I’ll not run for elective seat, says Kagwe

Thursday, January 27th, 2022 00:01 | By
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Since the beginning of the year, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has left everyone guessing over his next move as a number of his colleagues position themselves for this year’s General Election.

With February 9, the day that public officers interested in vying for elective positions ought to have resigned, fast approaching, Kagwe has left tongues wagging over whether he would be among the high-flying individuals expected to exit President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government to join politics or he would stick around to complete the onslaught against Covid-19 pandemic.

“I will not lose focus on coronavirus pandemic fight because of politics. I want to fight till the end. Nothing disturbs my mind at the moment than this pandemic. Is Kagwe ready to abandon the war midstream? I don’t know, though I don’t think it as the most viable possibility,” a philosophical Kagwe told this writer last weekend.

The former Nyeri Senator’s star had been rising soon after his appointment to the Cabinet just before the deadly coronavirus was detected in the country in March 2020.

Since then, he has remained the face of the government’s onslaught against respiratory disease because of his growing presence in the public space and has effectively managed the pandemic to easily fix his name on the list of the best performing ministers despite having been a late appointee.

It was during the pandemic that Kagwe was even at one point considered as a possible former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s running mate, while pundits went as far as linking him to the formation of a political outfit, headed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i and deputised by Kagwe.

Protect Kenyans
By December last year, pressure was reportedly mounting on Kagwe from both his peers in the Cabinet and elected leaders to go for the top position in the country…the presidency. In what amounted to attempts to deflate public attention, Kagwe, who had struck a rare camaraderie with Matiang’i in government, was at one time reported praising the latter as “having what it takes to ascend to the top seat should his people protect him from “external political forces.

Reached for comment, the CS appeared to lift the lid on what could be cooking in his pot after he indicated that being a Health minister, his priority at the moment is to protect Kenyans from the pandemic and other diseases.

“At the moment, my concentration and focus is on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. I have not even thought of the August 9 elections. Why should I start thinking about elections when our people face threats of dying from Covid-19? Which is the most important; elective position or fighting the pandemic?” Kagwe asked.

Unlike his colleagues Matiang’i, Peter Munya (Agriculture), Eugene Wamalwa, Charles Keter (Devolution), John Munyes (Petroleum), Ukur Yatani (Treasury), Sicily Kariuki (Water), who have intensified their political engagements in public, Kagwe has slowed down on most of his activities, throwing more spanners into the works.

Speculation has been rife that Kagwe was set to resign from his position and either vie for a national position or Nyeri’s governorship.

“I know that there has been this debate and I know that there has been speculation in all sorts of political spheres and political discussions but the only thing I can tell you is this. First and foremost, I must focus on Covid-19 pandemic. My determination is to ensure that quite a good number of Kenyan are vaccinated and majority of them stay safe from being infected ,” Kagwe said.

Former Mathira MP Peter Weru, who is among Mt Kenya leaders who have been pushing to have Kagwe picked as Raila’s running mate argues that his famed experience in the corporate and political world, having served as an MP and minister, places him ahead of most politicians from the region.

Professional uniqueness
“Kagwe is one of the best students of retired President Mwai Kibaki. He was a minister during his tenure and has been an MP and chairman of various parliamentary committees and a senator. He has also been in Uhuru’s Cabinet and his works speak for themselves and that is why he was recognised by the World Health Oganisation for his role in the Covid-19 pandemic management,” Weru says. He adds Kagwe is not a populist who would want to use his achievements for political expediency.

“It is his patriotism that seems to convince him not to abandon the fight against the pandemic to venture into politics. He is bold and undertakes his duties with some professional uniqueness that enables him solve the most complex problems,” says Weru who worked at Safaricom at the time Kagwe was serving as ICT minister.

Political analyst Dr Richard Bosire opines that Kagwe could be an asset to any political divide that reaches out to him.
“He is a big asset to any political side that reaches out to him and convinces him to join them. His non-controversial stance, work ethic and loyalty make him the best bet,” says Bosire.

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