Details of a battle for the control of former President Daniel arap Moi’s press office have emerged after the former Head of State’s Press Secretary Lee Njiru was accused of keeping a government vehicle illegally.
The Nation has established that Mr Moi’s long-serving aide has locked horns with a government driver who claims he (Mr Njiru) should not have the vehicle “because he has retired”.
The dispute has landed in police hands after the driver, Mr Peter Ngetich, recorded a statement at Menengai Police Station in Rongai, Nakuru County, over the matter.
In Mr Ngetich’s statement dated October 9, 2017, the driver says Mr Njiru has retired and should not have a government car.
In the statement, it emerged that orders to repossess the vehicle were issued by Mr John Lokorio, the former president’s personal secretary. The revelations suggest a quiet battle that could be pitting Mr Njiru against some operatives who want him out of the former president’s circle.
However, in an exclusive interview, Mr Njiru said he was aware of the statement and was ready to defend himself in court.
Mr Njiru emphasised that he had not retired and that he was in office in accordance with the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act.
“I want to make it very clear that I am still former President Daniel arap Moi’s press secretary. I am aware of some operatives being used by some prominent people to insinuate that I have retired, but I am ready for them,” Mr Njiru told the Nation on Monday.
He further said the government had renewed his contract for three years which will end on June 30, 2020.
A letter signed by former State House comptroller Lawrence Lenayapa, dated June 5, 2017, indicated that Mr Njiru’s contract has been extended to June 30, 2020.
“I wish to convey to you the decision of the Public Service Commission that your appointment as a personal assistant/press secretary in the office of the first President of Kenya has been renewed for a further period of three years,” reads part of the letter from State House, Nairobi.
Mr Njiru said the statement by Mr Ngetich could have serious repercussions and be a threat to his life. “Police might even shoot me, believing that l was a thief illegally possessing a government vehicle yet l am still a civil servant,” said Mr Njiru.
“I have built a reputation as an upright, loyal and diligent civil servant for the last 43 years, 41 of which l have served the Presidency from 1977. Those being used to soil my name should be ashamed,” said Mr Njiru. Mr Njiru, known as the former President’s most trusted confidant for the past 43 years, has close proximity to the Presidency.
His links to the Presidency make him a powerful figure in the larger scheme of things.
Story credit: Eric Matara/Daily Nation