Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Principal Secretary Dr Karanja Kibicho have said they are unbothered by criticism directed at them by a section of political leaders.
The duo which has come under repeated attacks by critics for allegedly directing selective harassment of government opponents said they were being targeted for discharging their official duties.
Addressing the National Delegates Conference of Chiefs at Caritas, Nyeri County, they said they had no apologies to make for their perceived high-handedness in enforcing law and order.
“I have never lacked sleep over all these shouts of Matiang’i this or Kibicho that. We are not bothered by all the insults and ridicule because that comes with the job we’ve been assigned and which we will continue to do to the best of our abilities.”
The CS described the sustained criticism as ‘unfortunate’ and joked that some leaders had made the insulting the PS and himself a ‘political manifesto.’
“Some leaders, including some in this county (Nyeri), have made the bashing Matiang’i and Kibicho part of their political manifesto. They cannot end a day without dragging our names into their political fights. Rather than sell their ideology, all they shout is threats and insults at two people whose only crime is doing their job,” he said.
The CS also dismissed threats of personal harm against him for allegedly unleashing state agencies including the police and the Kenya Revenue Authority on critics.
“I hear people reminding me all the time that there were powerful Interior ministers before me and that I’ll also go someday. I know there was George Saitoti and Joseph Nkaissery. I know I will die someday and that does not scare me. What is important to me is the legacy of my tour of duty.”
On his part, PS Kibicho dismissed claims that he was involved in active politics saying he was only exercising his civic duties as a leader and a private citizen.
“As Citizens, Kibicho, my family and I also have a voice and a vote. I also have a few people who look up to me for consultations on governance and what we should look out for when choosing leaders. If they ask for my opinion, I’ll give it.”
The duo asked the chiefs to be politically neutral but firm when dealing with politicians during the election season.
They however encouraged them to take active roles in the rollout of civic education including guiding citizens on the ideal leadership qualities for those seeking elective positions.
They assured the chiefs that the government will protect them from intimidation and harassment, especially by politicians and contestants subverting the law.
“They are those who are threatening you that you will be dismissed or disciplined in other ways if you don’t do this or that. But as long as you’re doing the right thing, rest assured that you’re going nowhere. We shall protect you from unwarranted intimidation,” Matiang’i said.
They encouraged chiefs to pursue further education saying the government had restructured the provincial administration now known as National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) to make it possible for them to rise through the ranks on merit.
To boost the movement of chiefs and their assistants, the CS said the government will buy 10,000 additional motorcycles for their use.