In a move that sent shockwaves through the corridors of power, Felix Koskei, the head of Public Works, has thrown a spanner in the works over the ongoing power struggle at Maji House with a directive for the suspension of the Athi Water boss.

Mr Koskei has issued orders to the board of Athi Water to suspend its chief executive officer, Michael Thuita, as corruption allegations continue to loom large over the cash-rich parastatal.

Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome had previously resisted calls from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and her Principal Secretary, Kipronoh Ronoh, to dismiss Eng Thuita.

The accusations of corruption within the organisation had placed Ms Wahome in a precarious position, as the pressure mounted for decisive action.

Mr Koskei didn’t mince words, asserting that the prolonged delay in taking action by both the board of directors and the ministry was severely undermining the government’s relentless battle against corruption.

“Inordinate delay in taking action on the part of the board and the ministry is undermining the government’s war on corruption,” said Mr Koskei.

Head of Public Service Felix Koskei. Image: courtesy.
Head of Public Service Felix Koskei. Image: courtesy.

The infighting at Maji House, where the Ministry of Water and Irrigation is housed, took an intriguing twist as Principal Secretary Ronoh appeared to gain an upper hand, bolstered by the support of President William Ruto’s key ally.

In a communication from State House on Friday, Mr Koskei dropped the bombshell, directing Athi Water Works’ board to suspend Eng Thuita pending a comprehensive investigation into alleged irregularities related to the awarding of contracts for the construction of Ruiru 2, Karimenu, and Kitui Matuu water projects managed by the agency.

But that wasn’t all; Mr Koskei also called for the suspension of Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency CEO Samuel Oruma.

This move comes in the wake of alleged procurement irregularities in the implementation of the water supply and sanitation system for the Bomet/Longisa/Mulot towns project.

The blame game became all too apparent when letters surfaced, revealing that Principal Secretary Ronoh pointed fingers at Ms Wahome for the delay in Eng Thuita’s suspension. He went as far as copying the letter to the head of the public service and the EACC boss, intensifying the internal power struggle.

Ms Wahome, a former Kandara MP and a close ally of Dr Ruto in the Mt Kenya region, now finds herself navigating treacherous waters. The unfolding drama between her and Mr Rono paints a vivid picture of underlying discord within the ministry, casting doubt on the strength of their working relationship.

Ms Wahome has accused the Principal Secretary of escalating the matter to higher offices without engaging in a prior discussion with her. The coming days will be intriguing as the battle for control and accountability in Athi Water continues to unfurl.

Before moving to Athi Water where he is serving his second term, Eng Thuita worked at National Irrigation Authority.