The return of Davis Chirchir, former Energy CS
Former Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir yesterday took over as the new Chief of Staff at Deputy President (DP) William Ruto’s office.
He replaces the late Ken Osinde, a long-serving occupant of the post, who died while undergoing treatment at Nairobi hospital in December.
Chirchir’s appointment was made by the Public Service Commission, People Dailylearnt. Ruto spokesman Emmanuel Tallam confirmed Chirchir had taken over.
“Yes, he is the new Chief of Staff at the Office of the DP, he has been appointed by the Public Service Commission and the appointment takes effect starting March 1,” he told People Daily.
His appointment thrusts him yet again into a charged political scene as the DP is deeply involved in a succession battle to replace President Uhuru Kenyatta; whose term ends after the August elections.
The President has fallen out with his deputy and the two are major actors in rival camps; with the former supporting erstwhile competitor-ODM leader Raila Odinga to succeed him. Ruto is already campaigning to replace his boss.
Chirchir, a close ally of the DP, has been without formal employment since he left the Ministry disgracefully in March 2015, after he was implicated in a scandal that involved questionable acquisition of voting materials for the 2013 General election.
He was forced out as President Uhuru Kenyatta launched a highly-publicised drive to relieve all public servants mentioned in graft cases of government work in early 2015 and Chirchir was among four CSs who lost their jobs. Others were Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Michael Kamau (Transport) and Kazungu Kambi (Labour).
He was replaced by Charles Keter, then Kericho senator.
Chirchir, who served as Information Technology director at the defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) before he was appointed to the Cabinet, had been accused of receiving millions of shillings in kickbacks in order to award a lucrative ballot paper printing contracts to British company Smith and Ouzman while working at the IIEC.
No charges were, however, leveled against him despite the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission questioning him.He had also been accused of receiving bribes worth Sh90 million to award contracts at Kenya Power.
Chirchir was appointed as Jubilee Party’s chief presidential agent during the contentious 2017 elections but ended up being accused of tampering with the IEBC servers by the opposition Nasa coalition.
The August 2017 presidential results were nullified by the Supreme Court after a majority of the judges of the top court said there were reasons beyond any doubt of electoral malpractices during the polls.
Chirchir was yet again to be the villain as the opposition directly accused him of tampering with the servers to ensure Uhuru won the race.
With only a few months to the polls, Chirchir, who is considered reclusive and rarely gives media interviews, will be expected to play a key role in Ruto’s presidential campaign.