Unease as Raila, Ruto dish out Cabinet seats

Written by on 27 June 2022

Even before the August 9 poll is conducted and the current Cabinet dissolved, the fate of some Cabinet Secretaries and other top government officials appears sealed.

Yet others are praying for redeployment, depending on who between Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga wins the presidency.

As part of their efforts to woo regional support, the leading coalitions –  Azimio-One Kenya Coalition and Kenya Kwanza Alliance – have dished out top government positions, particularly especially ministerial positions, to their supporters.

A number of CSs, Principal Secretaries and high ranking government officials are simply buying time in their positions as the clock ticks towards the polls.

Sources told Inka FM that several high ranking government officials shelved their political ambitions on the promise of being retained should their side of the political divide win the contest.

Interestingly, some sitting ministers and senior government officials have openly taken sides politically as they jostle for prime jobs in the next government should their preferred candidates win.

For the Azimio camp, Raila has already named some people in his proposed Cabinet line-up should he win, putting the jobs of some sitting CSs on the line.

Both coalitions have already earmarked the positions of State House Comptroller and Head of Public Service, currently held by Kinuthia Mbugua and Joseph Kinyua respectively.

Although Ruto has remained cagey on the outlook of his proposed Cabinet, he has so far dished out a third of his government to Amani National Congress’ Musalia Mudavadi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula, a promise that may require him to sack some public servants to create vacancies.

The DP has also indicated that he would sack all defiant CSs apparently allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila’s Azimio la Umoja.

“ANC and Ford Kenya shall have 30 per cent of the positions in the national government, including Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, ambassadors/high commissioners, heads of diplomatic missions, chairs of State corporations, directors of State corporations and chairpersons and commissioners of constitutional commissions. The aforesaid 30 per cent positions in the national government shall be shared equally between ANC and Ford Kenya’’ reads part of the deal between UDA, ANC and Ford Kenya pilitical parties.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, who is eyeing the county governor seat on an ANC ticket under Kenya Kwanza Alliance, yesterday said that while it is the DP’s prerogative to pick his Cabinet if he wins, all of the CSs and other appointed State officers outside their camp, who are openly backing their competitor, should expect to automatically lose their positions.

He singled out Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, his ICT counterpart Joseph Mucheru and Peter Munya (Agriculture), and Interior PS Karanja Kibicho, as among those who should not expect any appointment in Ruto’s government.

No antagonism 

On his part, ODM chairman John Mbadi said that although their side will not antagonise anybody over their political leaning, the priority in appointments would be reserved to individuals who support them.

Already, Matiang’i and Mucheru, who have openly backed Raila, have rattled the Ruto camp, which has accused them of using their offices to allegedly plot how to rig the election in favour of Azimio.

Ruto has continuously demanded that they be sacked from the Cabinet for violating the Constitution and their oath of office, an indication that should Kenya Kwanza win, the two would be the first to be shown the door.

“Some of these people now campaigning against me were employed by Uhuru Kenyatta and myself. But they have now become too arrogant and disrespectful to an extent that the go on TV and claim that an intelligence report shows Azimio has a certain popularity rating,” Ruto said two weeks ago. 

While the DP castigated them, his UDA secretary-general, Veronica Maina, wrote to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Director of Public Prosecution, Noordin Haji, calling for prosecution of the two. 

The two have occasionally appeared at Raila’s campaigns. Also, they have accused Kenya Kwanza of malice and hypocrisy, saying that in 2017 they took part in presidential campaigns yet the DP did not complain since he was in the UhuRuto package that they were supporting.

National Treasury Ukur Yatani has also been lobbying for Raila, even organising his meetings with North Eastern region leaders. He was prevailed upon by President Uhuru not to quit the Cabinet to vie for a gubernatorial seat. But his job has already been promised to Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who is serving his final term.

Should the Orange Democratic Movement leader win, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, whom he has offered the position of Chief Cabinet Secretary, is also expected to take over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, currently held by Rachael Omamo.

Omamo has remained ambivalent politically, though she has been one of Uhuru’s ardent allies in the Cabinet. In what could spell doom for Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, who initially wanted to make a second stab at the Nyeri governorship as part of his negotiations with Azimio, Kalonzo reportedly demanded that Wiper be allocated the Health docket as well as that of Energy, held by Monica Juma and Tourism, under Najib Balala.

Reports also indicate that Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, who was last week prevailed upon by Raila to drop her quest to defend her current post, could be the next occupant of Afya House should the team win.

Among the sitting CSs, save for Munya and his Defence counterpart Eugene Wamalwa, who are visible figures in Raila’s campaigns and could retain their respective dockets should Azimio win, the fate of the majority hangs in the balance. 

Others who have already won the heart of Raila and could be retained in an Azimio government are Matiang’i and Mucheru. 

They have had run-ins with the DP’s campaign team.

Trade and Industrialisation CS Betty Maina, and her counterparts at Transport and Infrastructure Development, and Education — James Macharia and Prof George Magoha — have left everyone guessing the political side they support.

Lands CS Farida Karoney, who has kept off succession campaigns, might have to vacate Ardhi House should Raila win. Her position has already been allocated to Mombasa Governor and ODM deputy party leader Hassan Joho.

Malala says there is no way Ruto will work with people who are not supportive of his agenda. “It is common sense that the DP will form a government of like-minded people. It is not a matter of sacking the current ones — the Cabinet will have to be dissolved. Then the DP will assemble a team of people who believe in him, his vision and ideologies. As president, you cannot have a Cabinet of people who are not supportive of your agenda,” said the outgoing Kakamega Senator.

He further stated: “ The moment Kenya Kwanza wins, the CSs and civil servants who are not with us, and who have openly been campaigning for Azimio, will not be considered at all. They will be in the opposition. That is the price they will pay for openly taking sides.”

Malala singled out Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, his ICT counterpart Joseph Mucheru and Peter Munya (Agriculture), and Interior PS Karanja Kibicho as among those who should not expect any appointment in Ruto’s government.

Mbadi: “It is an accepted tradition across the world for any incoming government to reward people who supported it during electioneering. So if we decide to retain some of the CS and senior officials pushing our cause, what is the problem? Mbadi said.

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