Cabinet reshuffle in Kenya as President Kibaki names new Trade Minister

Chirau Ali Mwakwere has been appointed the new trade minister by Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki, moving the incumbent Amos Kimunya to the Transport Ministry in a cabinet reshuffle that saw five other ministers moved around.

Chirau Mwakwere is  a key ally of Kibaki and he hails from the coast region. He was transport minister until February when he lost his parliamentary seat after a court petition. He won back the seat in a by-election. The president made the reshuffle in consultation with the Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The ministers of the east African community, fisheries development, special programmes, youth and sports and gender and children change portfolios.

It seems there has been a clamour in a section of the grand coalition government that was formed to end a post-election violence in 2008 to jettison cabinet ministers who campaigned against a new constitution ratified by voters in the recent referendum. Apparently, there was no mention of the ministers who opposed the new charter including Higher Education Minister William Ruto in the statement from the presidency which announced the changes. Naomi Shaban  was the only one minister from the “No” camp in the referendum, that  was affected by the changes. She was moved from minister of state for special programmes to head the Ministry of gender, children and social development, swapping places with Esther Mathenge. The reshuffle didn’t come as much of  a surprise to many as the political climate created by the recent referendum had left a bit of bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouth.

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