Lobbying for the position of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) director general has intensified as the term of the current boss, Maj-Gen (rtd) Philip Wachira Kameru comes to an end. His five-year contract expires at the end of this month. President Uhuru Kenyatta may opt to extend Kameru\u2019s term by another five years. Initially, reports indicated Kameru was not keen on the extension, prompting the search for a successor that has acquired added interest following the March 9, 2018 Handshake between Uhuru Kenyatta and former prime minister Raila Odinga that changed the country\u2019s political landscape. The outgoing chief of the spy agency is believed to have played a critical role in the Uhuru-Raila rapprochement. This is why whoever takes over from Kameru is likely to play a prominent role in Uhuru\u2019s succession matrix as well as his Big Four agenda legacy goals and the ongoing war on graft. Yesterday, the Eldas MP Adan Keynan, a former chairman of Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, urged the President to extend Kameru\u2019s contract due to what he termed the exemplary service he has offered the country. \u201cKameru has had a chequered career both in the military and at NIS. The reforms he has initiated at NIS are the hallmarks of what a professional security officer should do, and so if there is any chance for him to be retained, may the President do so,\u201d said the MP. And security expert Simiyu Werunga said Kameru had played a pivotal role in the war on corruption that has seen senior government officers, including suspended Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich, arrested and arraigned over mega graft claims. \u201cAlthough NIS always plays its role behind the scenes, the war on corruption in which high profile individuals have been prosecuted may not have succeeded without his input,\u201d said Werunga. Significant proposal A high-level team is said to have made a number of proposals, with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti fingered as likely successor. Another significant proposal was to transfer an NIS director, George Waiguru, who currently is in charge of counter-terrorism, to head the DCI. Other key names for the position are current Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) Maj-Gen AS Farah and his predecessor Maj-Gen Peter Charles Mwai. But there are forces within the government who are opposed to Kinoti\u2019s appointment to the position, on grounds that his removal could slow down the gains and reforms made in the DCI, particularly in the fight against corruption and general crime. \u201cIt is a delicate situation that the government is trying to balance carefully so that it does not lose on both sides. On one hand, the pace set by Kinoti must be maintained, while on the other, there is need for the strides made at NIS to be protected by having the right person as the head,\u201d said a senior government security officer who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. The NIS boss\u2019 term runs for five years, but can be extended to a maximum of two sequential terms, implying that Kameru\u2019s contract could be renewed for an additional five years. The position holder enjoys security of tenure. Kameru was appointed by the President in August, 2014 to succeed Maj-General (rtd) Michael Gichangi. Before his appointment, he was the director of Kenya Defence Forces\u2019 Military Intelligence, which was key in the intelligence gathering and military successes in Somalia before and after 2011. He reputedly developed an open door policy under which he embraced intelligence even from civilians. National Assembly Leader of Minority John Mbadi also heaped praises on Kameru, saying it was during his tenure that NIS made great strides in combating terrorism, corruption and general crime. \u201cAlthough some people have said NIS may have played a leading role in the Handshake, the working chemistry between the President and Raila has been sustained due to the peaceful environment created by NIS under Kameru,\u201d he said. \u201cHe assumed the office at a time when the country was constantly under attack from terrorists, but he has managed to reduce the incidents and threats. He is one officer whom Kenyans owe quite a lot,\u201d the MP added. Kameru, who had served in the military for about 36 years, is understood to have influenced the appointments to key positions, including those of Kinoti and Waiguru, who he transferred to crucial department immediately he was appointed. Both men are said to be his close confidants. Terror threats He came into office at a time the country had come under consistent terror attacks, and is credited with significantly reducing the threats and insecurity in general. His appointment is also said to have improved Kenya-US relations having trained with the American intelligence officers, and that of NIS with the National Police Service. Police service was always at loggerheads with the NIS boss with police, who complained the NIS briefs were too general and therefore not actionable. This prompted a former Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere to establish the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) under the DCI. Kameru was the third NIS boss to be appointed from the military after Gichangi and his predecessor, Wilson Boinet. Other past DGs are James Kanyotu and William Kivuvani. During his appointment, Kameru was hailed as a \u201creliable and resourceful leader with a lot of competency in national and international security management\u201d. Whether picked after competitive recruitment or handpicked by the President, the spy boss is said to have influenced most of the recent security-related appointments, most of them have either military or spying background. They include the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji, Immigration Services director Alexander Muteshi, the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) DG Maj (rtd) George Nyamoko, the Financial Reporting Centre director general Saitoti Maika, and the anti-graft tsar Twalib Mbarak. Muteshi, a former NIS director of counter-terrorism, replaced Maj Gen (rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa who was appointed the Immigration Principal Secretary.