14 Ministers in Kibaki's First Cabinet Who Are Still Powerful

From left: Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the late President Mwai Kibaki and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka
From left: Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the late President Mwai Kibaki and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka

Update: Former President Mwai Kibaki passed away on Friday, April 22, 2022. President Uhuru Kenyatta announced. 

As the country marked a new dawn following the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) victory against independence party KANU in the 2002 General election, little was known of what the next government would bring.

While others doubted whether President Daniel Moi would hand over the government to his successor, Mwai Kibaki, members of the NARC team held on to the belief that they would form the next government.

As Kibaki named his first cabinet on January 3, 2003, many of his loyalists who campaigned for him during the time he was recovering from the Machakos road accident made it to the list.

ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka shake hands after Kalonzo endorsed him for the presidency at Jacaranda Grounds on Saturday, March 12, 2022
ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka shake hands after Kalonzo endorsed him for the presidency at Jacaranda Grounds on Saturday, March 12, 2022.
Kalonzo Musyoka

While some members of Kibaki's first cabinet have taken aback seat from the political scene, some have maintained their influence in the country's political arena.

Kenyans.co.ke re-traced those who have continued to serve the public in various capacities and came up with this list: 

1. Raila Odinga

Upon assuming office, Kibaki named Raila as the Minister of Roads, Public Works, and Housing. The then-Lang'ata MP was given the key ministry having been an ardent Kibaki ally during the campaigns where he famously announced Kibaki Tosha. 

During a past interview, Dr Dan Gikonyo, Kibaki's doctor revealed how the ODM boss once mobilised a team of eight men to carry the president to the plane as he was scheduled for treatment in London after they received frustrations from a local airline.

The trained engineer is famed for his transformations in the ministry given the road projects that were undertaken in Kibaki's first administration.

However, the two leaders later fell out after the then president breached a Memorandum of Understanding he had made with Raila's LDP. The minister was eventually fired in 2005. 

He faced his former boss in the disputed 2007 elections after which he served as the country's Prime Minister. To date, Raila holds significant political influence and was endorsed as the Azimio la Umoja presidential aspirant for the August 9 polls.

2. Martha Karua

Karua was named as the Minister for Water and Irrigation in Kibaki's first administration, a docket she held before being transferred to the Justice and Constitutional affairs ministry in Kibaki's second term. 

She was among the leaders who criticised the Moi regime over its leadership style and was famed for walking out of Moi's fundraising in Kirinyaga County in 2001 in protest of the treatment of the opposition leaders by Kanu supporters.

During Kibaki's two-term reign, Karua grew in the political scene and was famous for her contributions in parliament where she earned the name 'the iron lady'. She was a close ally of Kibaki during his presidency and was part of the team that was negotiating on behalf of the then-president after the disputed 2007 General election. 

However, in 2009, Karua resigned from the cabinet after falling out with the Head of State. Consequently, she contested the presidential seat in 2013 and for the Kirinyaga Gubernatorial seat in 2017.

{"preview_thumbnail":"/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/tEwg2NBvTY4.jpg?itok=ub55MsH7","video_url":"","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}

Despite declaring interest in the Kirinyaga gubernatorial seat, she is being fronted as one of the running mates for the presidential aspirants in the upcoming August 9 polls.

3. Kalonzo Musyoka 

Despite being a close ally of Moi during his reign, Kalonzo was appointed as Foreign Affairs minister by Kibaki in 2003.

The Wiper party boss was tasked with leading the government's foreign policies. In 2007, he was appointed as the country's second in command after the disputed polls.

Over the years, he has been recognised for his diplomatic work and has often been tasked with peace negotiations in wartorn countries such as South Sudan.

To date, Kalonzo holds a huge political following, especially from his political backyard Ukambani and was sought by several presidential aspirants before he endorsed Raila's candidature.

4. Charity Ngilu 

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu was appointed as the Health Minister in Kibaki's first term.

The outspoken leader was a vocal member of the NARC coalition famously known as the rainbow party and was among the Key leaders behind the unity of opposition parties in the run to the 2002 polls.

Ngilu continued to serve as a minister in Kibaki's second administration as the Minister of Water and is currently among the governors campaigning for Raila - the Azimio la Umoja aspirant.

5. Moody Awori 

Among those who still influence politics in the country is former Vice President Moody Awori, who was appointed to the position after the passing of the late Kijana Wamalwa.

He served as the Home Affairs minister, a ministry that deals with prisons and the correction services in the country.

Former Vice-President Moody Awori arrives for mass at the Holy Family Basilica, Nairobi in 2018
Former Vice-President Moody Awori arrives for mass at the Holy Family Basilica, Nairobi in 2018

6. Linah Jebii Kilimo 

She was appointed as the Minister for the State Office of the Vice president before being moved to the Ministry of Immigration and the Registration of Persons.

She gained prominence in the public over her advocacy against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which was being practiced in some parts of the country.

She is currently a Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of Gender.

7. Najib Balala 

When naming his cabinet, Kibaki appointed Balala as the Minister for Gender and sports. He also held similar positions in the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture during the first term.

Following his dalliance with Raila in the run of the 2005 referendum, Balala lost favour with Kibaki. However, he was nominated to the cabinet again in the grand coalition government as the Tourism Minister.

Balala was an influential figure in ODM and was one of the pentagon members who spearheaded Raila's candidature in the coast region. He currently serves as Tourism Cabinet Secretary. 

8. Kiraitu Murungi

After Kibaki's election, the incumbent Meru Governor was a key player during the transition period from KANU to NARC.  

While the president was still injured from the road accident, Kiraitu was among the leaders who helped Kibaki set up his government after Moi left office.

Being a trusted aide, he was appointed as the Justice and constitutional affairs minister. He also defended Kibaki when being attacked by other coalition partners in NARC over betrayal in the controversial 2002 MoU. 

The former ally of Kibaki was elected Meru Governor on a Jubilee ticket in the 2017 election and will defend his seat on Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP) on August 9.

9. Raphael Tuju 

The former KTN anchor made it to the Cabinet in 2003 after he was appointed as the Minister of Information and Communication. He also served as the Foreign affairs minister from 2005, two years before the 2007 General Election. 

Tuju remained a close ally of Kibaki and was among the very few Nyanza leaders who supported his presidential bid. He also vied for the Rarieda Parliamentary seat on a Party of National Unity (PNU) ticket and lost to the former MP Nicholas Gumbo.

In the run to the 2017 polls, the former minister played a key role in the re-election of Uhuru Kenyatta as he was nominated as the Jubilee Party Secretary-General. He resigned from the position in early March and will be seeking an elective seat in the August 9 polls.

Behind the scenes, Tuju is said to be one of the brains behind Raila's presidential drive in Azimio.

10. Ochilo Ayacko 

Little known to many, Migori Senator Ochilo Ayako served as the first Energy Minister in the NARC government.

The soft-spoken senator represents Migori County having been elected on an ODM ticket to replace the late Ben Olouch who passed away in 2018.

Former UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi speaking during a past forum
Former UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi speaking during a past forum

11. Mukhisa Kituyi 

Kituyi served as the Trade Minister in Kibaki's first administration. His time in the ministry prepared him for his role in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, where he later served as Secretary-General.

The former minister retired from his role at UNCTAD in 2021 as he eyed the presidential seat in the August 9 polls. However, he has previously indicated that he will support the candidature of former Prime Minister.

12. Amos Kimunya 

Among Kibaki's first ministers was the current Kipiripiri MP Amos Kimuya. He was tasked to head the Lands Ministry that was set to sort out land issues that were faced during the Moi administration.

Kibaki had a soft spot for Kimunya and later promoted him to become Minister For Finance. He now serves as the Majority Leader in the National Assembly. 

13. Anyang Nyong’o 

Nyong'o was appointed Minister of Planning and National government by Kibaki upon assuming office. He also served as the Health Minister in the grand coalition government.

Nyong'o is the current Kisumu Governor and was elected on an ODM party ticket in 2017.

14. Ali Chirau Mwakwere 

Among those named in Kibaki's first Cabinet was Ali Chirau Makwere to the Labour ministry.

Having defected from the then ruling party, KANU, Makwere's appointment was seen as part of Kibaki's promise to achieve regional balance upon his accession to power. 

The famous coastal leader famed for his 'Zipapa' song later took over the Ministry of Transport in the run-up to the 2007 polls.

Mwakwere is now Wiper Party Chairman and has declared that he will vie for the Kwale Gubernatorial seat in the August 9 polls.

  • .