Ruto can use carrot and stick approach to tame team

Thursday, September 28th, 2023 05:40 | By
TIFA: Support for Kenya Kwanza declines by 14%
President William Ruto during a past event. PHOTO/Facebook(@williamsamoei)

After a series of intense diplomatic meetings at the UN General Assembly in New York, President William Ruto has now returned to a tumultuous situation back home.

Power struggles among key government officials have escalated into violent battles for supremacy. However, this storm of conflict extends beyond ministries, ensnaring even prominent political figureheads. The public is not amused by the outrageous behavior of these top officials.

They strut around with an air of arrogance, completely unmoved by the suffering of the poor citizens who are suffocating under the weight of the skyrocketing cost of living. It’s enough to make you want to grab a sufuria and join maandamano!

Senator Samson Cherargei expressed his support for extending the presidential term limit, hinting at the underlying sentiments within his party, UDA. However, UDA swiftly distanced itself from the senator’s statement, as clarified in a press release by Cleophas Malala, the party’s Secretary General. President Ruto is a seasoned political warrior; will he be ready to tame his team with the wit and charm of a true leader? With his diplomatic skills honed on the international stage, is he equipped to navigate this treacherous battlefield at home?

Quelling the power struggles and restoring faith in his government is no easy feat since there are various interests at stake. The discontented masses may rise up, demanding justice and accountability. Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure – this battle for power and public opinion is about to get a whole lot more interesting! President Ruto can control the fallout among his Cabinet and senior government officials using a tactical political card.

The President possesses two essential tools to exercise control over his Cabinet and senior State officials: punishment and favour. Punishment refers to the act of imposing consequences, such as firing or demotion, upon ministers who cannot meet expectations. Favour entails giving honour and rewards to those who have shown exceptional performance and dedication. Ministers and senior Government officials will fear the penalties and hope to profit by the rewards. Hence, if President Ruto wields his punishments and favours, the ministers will fear his sternness and flock to receive his benefits.  But, from the look of things, the ministers of age are different. They cajole the ruler into letting them inflict punishment themselves on men they hate and bestow rewards on men they like, hence the tag of war we’re witnessing among the leaders at the moment.

The President should insist upon reserving to himself the right to dispense profit in the form of rewards and show his sternness in punishments. If he hands them to his ministers then the public will all fear the ministers and hold the President in contempt and will flock to the ministers. This is the danger that arises when the ruler loses control of punishments and favours. He should not fear his cronies but work towards the interests and greater good of the public. In the realm of power dynamics, it is crucial to recognise the delicate balance between control and submission. Just as the tiger’s dominance hinges on its physical attributes, a president’s authority lies in the strategic use of punishments and favours.

However, this authority can swiftly crumble if the President cannot maintain a firm grip on these tools. By relinquishing punishments and favours to his ministers, the President unwittingly surrenders his control, leaving himself vulnerable to their whims.

It is of utmost importance for the President  to exhibit his proficiency in leading with elegance and diplomacy. The President’s control over senior government officials is facilitated through the strategic use of punishment and favour. These mechanisms, when employed effectively and fairly, contribute to a well-functioning administration that upholds accountability, encourages excellence, and ultimately serves the best interests of the nation.

— The writer is  an innovations evangelist and  PhD Candidate—[email protected]

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