Joseph Kinyua – towering civil servant Kenyan presidents find irreplaceable

Joseph Kinyua – towering civil servant Kenyan presidents find irreplaceable

By Mumbi Mutoko

When Dr Joseph Kinyua handed over the reins of the Head of Public Service to Felix Koskei, who President William Ruto appointed, many Kenyans celebrated his accomplishments and efficiency at the helm of the office.

Kinyua hung his gloves after 44 years in public service, most of which he served four Presidents in Kenya.

“I thank you and your predecessors for, in my view, the privilege to serve in four successive administrations and yours. It has been a profound honor and a humbling journey. I’m immensely grateful to be accorded the rare opportunity to serve Kenyan and the great men chosen to be President,“ Dr Kinyua said in his speech.

Known as a man of very few words, who was not easily compromised, and a very effective enforcer of the president’s mandates, Dr Kinyua was saying his final goodbyes. But this would not be his last days at the house on the hill.

According to reports, Kinyua was looking forward to enjoying his retirement, as he had in 2012 before retired President Uhuru Kenyatta requested his service as he took over power from the late Mwai Kibaki.

President William Ruto also realized he needed the man who had spent two decades running civil service affairs—a critical sector in any government and for any president who wants his agenda implemented seamlessly. The President had spent much time with Dr Kinyua as DPand knew what he brought to the table.

Reports indicated that the president retained Dr Kinyua to help the new government take shape. Sources told Nairobi Law Monthly that Dr Kinyua was still working within President Ruto’s administration. The sources further elaborated that he works from the President’s Executive Office and reports directly to the president.

Dr Kinyua is widely regarded as one of the most competent and trusted government officials in the country’s recent history. His prominence as a competent administrator stems from his vast experience in public service. Before his appointment as the Head of Public Service in 2013, he had served in various senior positions in the government, including as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and the National Treasury.

One critical factor that has made Kinyua so appealing to Kenyan presidents is his ability to deliver on their election agendas. He is credited with a pivotal role in implementing key government initiatives, including the Big Four Agenda.

Moreover, Kinyua’s reputation as a trustworthy and reliable public servant has endeared him to successive Kenyan presidents, who have relied on him to steer the country’s public service toward efficiency and effectiveness. His appointment as the Head of Public Service was widely seen as a masterstroke, given his track record in government and his ability to work with different stakeholders.

Kinyua’s competence and appeal as a public servant have made him one of the most respected and influential figures in Kenyan politics. (

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