Inside Politics

Ruto could dig a hole in House to fill up Cabinet

Monday, September 19th, 2022 01:25 | By
Ruto cabinet
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen. PD/File

President William Ruto is said to be looking to pluck a number of loyalists from Parliament to join the Cabinet as he seeks to solidify the top Executive organ with trusted hands and fresh blood.

Most politicians who stuck with him during the difficult times — when he was sidelined by the previous regime — recently contested and won political seats in the last elections, depriving him of key figures who could occupy Cabinet slots.

The spirit of the 2010 Constitution is for the President to appoint technocrats with deep knowledge in governance.

But since 2013, politicians have also been picked. Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta preferred a mix of politicians and technocrats. It is a preference expected to continue in Ruto’s administration as he will likely pick a number of his political allies to join the 22-member top decision-making organ.

Have to resign

At the weekend, some of them were informed of the intention to pick them to the Cabinet and will have to resign from Parliament to be appointed ministers. 

Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Garissa Township MP Aden Duale are expected to join the Cabinet. Both were Majority Leaders in Senate and National Assembly, respectively.

However, they were hounded out of the lucrative positions in 2020 after Ruto, who was then Deputy President, fell out with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who replaced them with own loyalists.

Kandara MP Alice Wahome is also expected to resign and join the Cabinet. She is one of the DP’s diehard allies from Mt Kenya who was considered for the DP’s slot. She is seen to have the requisite experience to lead the 11 women set to join the organ.

The trio was not considered for any of the leadership positions in Parliament when the Kenya Kwanza Alliance met at the weekend, fueling claims they were heading to the Cabinet.

They did not respond to People Daily’s inquiries yesterday but a source close to the President confirmed they were expected to join the Cabinet.

“Yes, we expect them to be appointed. Those within his circle have agreed to have them appointed,” an MP aware of the developments told People Daily.

During the campaigns, the Head of State promised to ensure half of his Cabinet members are female. Concern has persisted over the shortage of women leaders with requisite political stature and experience to push the President’s agenda away from the confines of Cabinet.

Wahome, who is serving her third consecutive term as MP, has stuck with Ruto and was one of the vocal voices pushing the President’s bottom-up economic agenda despite facing vicious opposition from supporters of the previous administration.

The President has promised to pick individuals ready to help in the implementation of the Kenya Kwanza manifesto, a document that will guide his administration for the next five years.

At the weekend, he chaired a meeting bringing together all the MPs and Senators belonging to the alliance in Naivasha, where the lawmakers were taken through the manifesto’s key planks.

Although he did not mention the status of the three who were present in the meeting, he praised the leaders, saying they were fit and ready to push his government’s agenda in Parliament.

“We have presented a team that will ensure our agenda in both Houses is prosecuted appropriately and timely so that we can deliver on the commitments to the people,” said Ruto.

Constitution of the Cabinet may not happen at least for the next three days as the President is out of the country attending Queen Elizabeth II’s burial today in London, before heading to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.Critical dockets

Other senior figures in the alliance are also readying to occupy key ministerial portfolios. Former Speaker Justin Muturi, former governors Josphat Nanok, Alfred Mutua and Salim Mvurya are some of those earmarked for critical dockets.

Individuals nominated to the Cabinet will have to be vetted first by the National Assembly’s Committee on Appointments chaired by the House Speaker. The nominees are not expected to face serious opposition as the alliance already boasts higher numbers after bagging the support of most of the independent MPs.

Already, the Office of the Deputy President’s Chief of Staff, Davis Chirchir, has been heavily linked to the Head of Civil Service post, a powerful docket with immense powers over recruitment, promotion and dismissal of persons to serve in the ruling administration. It’s an office under the Office of the President. 

The other senior position that has remained vacant and is set to be filled is the Secretary to the Cabinet. The position has remained vacant since 2013.

Other than the CSs, the President will also nominate Principal Secretaries to be vetted by the Committee for various State Departments.

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