Ruto’s ministers have a lot of explaining to do

Wednesday, May 17th, 2023 01:00 | By
'I need more hands & minds' - Ruto defends CAS positions
President William Ruto at a past event. PHOTO/PSCU

Sunday evening, President William Ruto granted the media a three-hour interview at State House from where he left Kenyans more confused than they were ahead of the conversation.

That was the second time the Head of State was talking directly to the public through the media. 

Unfortunately, the President – known and respected for his eloquence and sharpness of mind – came out of the two interviews less than convincing. Obviously, he will need to do more.

Right from the beginning, the President has appeared to be restless and in a hurry. In the process, he has come up with many initiatives which, though well-meaning, have not gone down well with the populace. 

The Hustler Fund, the Affordable Housing programme and a myriad other proposals made by the President, have left Kenyans asking more questions for which they get answers that are far from satisfactory.

Of course, it is very positive for the Head of State to subject himself to public scrutiny through media interviews. That is a positive step which his handlers must be congratulated for and encouraged to sustain. They can even make it routine to the extent of holding one interview quarterly, that is once in four months.

Ruto’s problem has nothing to do with economics. It has everything to do with the manner in which he is popping up one suggestion after another as well as the way in which he is conducting himself to explain his actions.

It is quite noticeable that no single Cabinet Secretary is coming out to frequently talk to Kenyans on issues relating to their dockets. The President has been left to explain everything and anything anywhere all the time. That is gnawing at the trust and confidence the electorate has in him.

There is no doubt the President is a hard worker. A hard worker he could be. But he similarly needs to have a hard working Cabinet. Instead of leaving Ruto to talk economics in church every Sunday, his ministers should take advantage of the media to reach out to the public on elements within their respective portfolios.

Owing to the many daily challenges in their ministries, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, his Education counterpart Ezekiel Machogu, Ababu Namwamba of Youths and Sport and Moses Kuria of Trade, are more visible than the rest of their colleagues. 

But visibility does not necessarily mean performance. Thus, I am not in any way stating that they are the most hard working.

To make President Ruto’s work less burdensome, maybe he should decree that every CS holds a media conference every fortnight while the Deputy President and Prime Cabinet Secretary do so monthly.

In both of the President’s two interviews, he talked about many things but without clarity on any of them. He cannot afford to leap in the same direction next time he has another live media interview.

So many things are wrong in the country today. That explains why the President has to be talking about each one of them. But he has to be convincing. 

Some of the things he talks about may require a lot of public participation before they are turned into policy. 

The three per cent housing tax (which the President calls contribution) is one such case.

— The writer is the Revise Editor, People Daily —[email protected]


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