Kenya: Eyes on President Kenyatta as Spy Chief’s Term Ends This Month

The performance of the country’s spy chief will come under close scrutiny as his five — year term lapses this month.

Credited for greatly influencing the new policy direction taken in the national security and the government’s war against corruption, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) director-general, Major Gen (Rtd) Philip Kameru’s term is expected to end on or about August 21, leaving President Uhuru Kenyatta with the task of either extending his term or picking his replacement.


President Kenyatta nominated Mr Kameru on August 21, 2014 for a five-year term upon the resignation of Maj Gen Michael Gichangi, who left office in a huff after a series of lapses in security.

With Mr Kameru’s term ending, President Kenyatta, has about two months to appoint a new spy chief, subject to approval from the National Assembly.

If he picks another name, the nomination process including parliamentary approval will take about a month to be finalised before the new man is sworn in to office.

Although the five senior directors at the spy agency headquarters in Ruaraka, Nairobi are potential candidates to replace him, President Kenyatta has the option of raiding the Directorate of Military Intelligence for his replacement.

In such a case, the engaging and warm Director of Military Intelligence Maj General Said Mohamed Farah who was appointed to the position in May will likely be an easy pick.

However, senior government, military and security officials who spoke to the Sunday Nation on condition of anonymity hinted that President Kenyatta is likely to give the trusted spy man another five-year term.

According to the National Intelligence Service Act, 2012; “The Director-General shall hold office for a term of five years and may be eligible for reappointment for one further term.”

When Sunday Nation requested for an interview, the International Relations and Security Management graduate, confided in a friend that there was no need of giving an interview to a reporter: “No need to blow your own trumpet.”

Since his appointment in 2014, Kameru seems to have repaid the President’s faith in him by helping to bring some sanity in the country’s security.


Under his reign, the spy agency has been instrumental in the ongoing graft purge which two weeks ago fell former National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

Further, Kameru was the man behind the scenes in the raid at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in which dozens of employees were arrested for engaging in malpractices.

Further, the spy chief has enhanced working relationship with other agencies in the fight against terrorism.

Unlike his predecessor Mr Gichangi who did not enjoy good working relationship with the then Chief of Defence Forces Gen Julius Karangi and Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo, there has been no reported incidences of wrangling between him and the other security chiefs.

Mr Kameru has previously served with General Karangi and the current Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Samsom Mwathethe and former police bosses Mr Kimaiyo and Joseph Boinnet as well as the current Inspector General of Police, Hillary Mutyambai, whose appointment he is said to have influenced.

“The improved co-operation and better working relationship among the various units has resulted in the drastic reduction of terror incidences in the country,” Mr Edward Wanyonyi, a graduate of war studies from King’s College, London, says.

Some of his other reforms include the raising of pay and bettering the working conditions, widening the training scope and operations of intelligence officers.


In the recent past, the intelligence unit has intensified its recruitment of top key personnel especially from the military.

His tenure has also resulted in a number of spies being picked to head critical sections of the government.

Mr Chris Mburu, who was the director in charge of external intelligence at NIS, is now an ambassador, Mr Alexander Muteshi who was his de facto deputy is now the head of immigration services while Mr Mutyambai, who was a Deputy Director Counter-terrorism boss at the spy agency is the IG.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and EACC boss Twalib Mbarak also served at the spy agency.

Under Mr Kameru’s reign, the intelligence agency has replaced the military in President Mwai Kibaki’s era and the General Service Unit during the latter years of the Daniel Moi presidency as the President’s most trusted security and intelligence outfit.

Insiders list three main issues as Mr Kameru’s major achievements: the “Handshake”, renewed vigour in the fight against corruption and the increased fight against terrorism.


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Publish date : 2019-08-05 07:31:47

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