For some time now a thick cloud of corruption has been hanging above the house on Harambee Avenue: The National Treasury.
Pundits and political brokers have been pressuring President Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint on acting capacity, a replacement for Mr. Henry Rotich-who is currently battling corruption charges, to plug the leadership gap at the Treasury.
Analysts had predicted and flouted several names that were to replace the embattled Rotich. But Uhuru has dodged their predictions.
President Uhuru has today appointed Mr. Ukur Yattani as acting National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary. Prior to his appointment, the former Marsabit governor held the labor and social protection docket as Cabinet secretary.
The Principal Secretary in the State Department for planning, Dr. Julius Muia, has also moved to the National Treasury to occupy Dr. Kamau Thugge’s position.
Rotich and Thugge are among the 28 officials charged on Tuesday with the conspiracy to defraud taxpayers off Ksh 17 Billion, meant for the development of Arror & Kimwarer dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County.
With the stock exchange market still recovering from the shocks following the arrests of the two, investors are keenly watching how the markets will behave in the coming weeks following the new appointments.
But who is this man Ukur Yattani? And does he have a track record that will guarantee investment appetite for the period in question? For starters, Ukur lost his 2017 gubernatorial re-election bid to a more tactful Ali Mohamud Mohamed-former assistant Minster for Special Programs during retired President Mwai Kibaki’s era.
What has the former governor achieved so far prior to his elevation to Treasury? In August last year, Yattani helped form a multi-agency committee to address issues of complaints of the poor working environment, discriminatory pay, and benefits of SGR workers that had hit the headlines.
In his quest to promote inclusivity among people living with albinism, the CS-two months later that year during the inaugural Mr and Miss Albinism beauty pageant-said the Albinism council in collaboration with his ministry would provide sunscreen, lip balm, wide-brim hats and cancer screening service to all persons with albinism across the country.
And in May 2019, he intensified a crackdown on rogue employment agencies with an aim to curb exploitation and abuse of its migrant workers in the Gulf countries.
While this is the first time since independence that a Finance minister is in court over corruption, analysts are waiting to see how the ministry will move forward on fiscal and monetary policies, the demonetization process, budget actualization and payments processes will pan out. Whether Yattani fits the bill, is a wait-and-see scenario.