Politicians dominate Ruto’s CS nominees

President Dr William Ruto naming his cabinet at State House in Nairobi on September 27, 2022. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

President William Ruto unveiled his first Cabinet that is dominated by politicians, making a complete departure from his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta who settled on technocrats in his first term in office.

Unlike in 2013 when Mr Kenyatta only picked two politicians, outgoing Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala and Charity Ngilu, former Lands Cabinet Secretary, Dr Ruto has nominated four sitting MPs, two former governors and several former MPs who contested for various seats and lost in the August 9 General Election.

Dr Ruto nominated only two technocrats, former Central Bank governor Njuguna Ndungu and KenGen chief executive, Rebecca Miano, to the Cabinet.

Prof Njuguna was named the Treasury Cabinet Secretary while Ms Miano will be in charge of East African Community ministry if approved by Parliament.

The Constitution capped the Cabinet at not less than 14 and not more than 22 members.

Mr Kenyatta opted for technocrats instead of election losers in a radical departure from the style of his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki, who populated his cabinet with elected lawmakers.

The former President went for the highest-paid private sector nominees for the Cabinet Secretary jobs – picking a trend in Western nations where industry leaders take up public positions with less pay.

The President intended to infuse corporate governance in the running of ministries but the technocrats were seen to fall short, particularly on issues that require political experience.

Analysts then explained the move by the executives as a bid to expand their legacy and make a larger impact on the public sector after scaling the heights in the private sector and non-governmental circles.

Mr Kenyatta was forced to reshuffle the Cabinet and bring in politicians after a number of scandals were reported in ministries.

Dr Ruto has made it clear that he wants Cabinet Secretaries in Parliament to answer questions and articulate government policies from the floor of the House.

MPs in the 12th Parliament complained of the unavailability of Cabinet Secretaries to respond to issues affecting Kenyans.

Many Cabinet Secretaries failed to heed summonses to appear before committees thereby derailing the work of lawmakers.

Dr Ruto on Tuesday rewarded his political loyalists, Garissa Township MP Aden Duale, Alice Wahome (Kandara) and Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) with plum Cabinet posts.

Mr Duale was named as the Defence Cabinet Secretary, Mr Murkomen (Roads, Transport and Public Works) and Alice Wahome (Water).

Dr Ruto also nominated Senator Soipan Tuya as the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Wildlife.

Former Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki was named Interior and National Administration Cabinet Secretary while former Meru Senator Mithika Linturi has been nominated to head the Agriculture ministry.

Former Machakos governor Alfred Mutua will head the Foreign and Diaspora ministry while former Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya will be in charge of the Mining ministry.

Former MPs Aisha Jumwa was named the new Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender while former Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu will be in charge of the Education ministry.

Former Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria is the nominee for Trade, Investment and Industry while former Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba will head the Youth and Sports ministry.

Dr Ruto named Musalia Mudavadi the Prime Cabinet Secretary, a senior position coming only below that of the President and the Deputy President.

In 2013, Mr Kenyatta named blue-chip company veterans like Adan Mohamed, an executive with Barclays Africa and his NIC Bank counterpart, James Macharia to the Cabinet.

Tuesday, Dr Ruto also named former National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi as the new Attorney-General.

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