Insight into four Ruto allies picked for top Cabinet jobs
Four long-time loyalists of President William Ruto have been carried along to the new Cabinet, tasked with promoting and defending key policies that will be pursued by his administration.
With the new administration set to face a tumultuous period in the coming days as it seeks to stamp its authority, Ruto will be banking on the quadruple to push Kenya Kwanza’s agenda among the masses.
Interior and National Administration Cabinet Secretary nominee Kithure Kindiki, Transport counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen and their co-loyalist Aden Duale — proposed for the influential Defence docket — will once again form the pillar that Ruto will rely on to execute his mandate in the next five years.
The trio has stuck with him for over 10 years, with Duale being one of his longest confidantes, having worked with him since 2007 when he (Duale) first joined Parliament. Another loyalist, Kandara MP Alice Wahome, has also been rewarded with the Ministry of Water, for largely sticking with Ruto when he was technically kicked out of the previous administration after falling out with then-President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Tuesday’s appointments captured Ruto’s preference for loyal foot soldiers, rather than untested hands, as he handed 14 Cabinet seats to politicians who campaigned for him during the last polls. The four, among others, remained loyal until Ruto won the August 9 polls. They were also key in the formation of Ruto’s party, United Democratic Alliance, and its umbrella coalition, Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
While unveiling his Cabinet, the President once again expressed gratitude to those who had stood by him over the past five years, echoing remarks he made during his inauguration on September 13.
“I appreciate the men and women who came with me from our earlier party to UDA. Many, governors, senators, MPs, MCAs and many Kenyans came along to forge a democratic movement,” said Ruto when he unveiled his Cabinet.
Former National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi was also rewarded for choosing Ruto over Uhuru when he dived back to politics as his time in the National Assembly ended.
]Being friends with the former President for a long time, it was expected he would cast his lot with him. However, he chose Ruto and, if approved by MPs, he will be the next Attorney General.
When the Jubilee administration, led by Uhuru, took over power in 2013, with Ruto as deputy president, Kindiki, Duale and Murkomen were handed powerful seats in both Houses and were the pointmen in pushing the ruling government’s agenda.
Kindiki was Senate Majority Leader, with Murkomen as his deputy, from 2013 to 2017. After the 2017 elections, Murkomen took over Kindiki’s position while he became Deputy Speaker.
Duale served as National Assembly Leader of Majority from 2013 to 2020, when the group members were dethroned from their positions after the fall-out between Uhuru and Ruto intensified.
Yesterday, Duale revealed that all the previous positions he had occupied in the past 15 years had been through Ruto’s influence. He was also assistant Minister for Livestock in 2007, although he was kicked out of the Grand Coalition Government (2007-13) together with Ruto in 2010.
Kindiki was one of the lawyers who represented Ruto at the International Criminal Court when he was charged over the 2007 post-election violence. Ruto was later acquitted in 2016. By then, Kindiki, first elected to Parliament in 2013, had forged a strong relationship with him.
By the time he lost his Deputy Speaker’s post, he was already an influential Ruto insider. This year, he came close to being picked as Ruto’s running mate, as it came down to him or Rigathi Gachagua.
As Interior CS, the professor of law will oversee key projects and implementation of the Kenya Kwanza agenda. He will also be in charge of Internal Security. Ruto promised review of salaries for police officers within 100 days of taking over. The realization of this will now fall on Kindiki.
Murkomen, who is being touted as the next Kalenjin kingpin after Ruto, also got the reward for remaining close to his party boss despite being stripped of the parliamentary position in 2020. Although he was a political newbie in 2013, he was picked as Kindiki’s deputy in the Senate and he rose to the top seat after 2017, but suffered the same fate as the other two in 2020.
Once approved, he will be in charge of a docket that will oversee multi-billion-shillings infrastructure projects. The Ruto administration plans to allocate Sh200 billion for new roads in addition to completing existing projects.
Wahome will be tasked with water projects, including completion of stalled or ongoing initiatives.
As AG, Muturi will lead Ruto’s legislative agenda. Other Ruto allies include former Meru Senator Mithika Linturi (Agriculture), Aisha Jumwa (Public Service and Gender) and Moses Kuria (Trade).