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Anxiety over cabinet, City hall welcomes Uhuru from SA

By Roselyn Obala | Published Sun, January 14th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 13th 2018 at 21:14 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta, South African President Jacob Zuma and South African Deputy President and President of the African National Congress (ANC) Cyril Ramaphosa toast during the African National Congress (ANC) 106th Birthday celebrations at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London, South Africa. [Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta jets back into the country today after a successful three-day State visit to South Africa. He will be confronted by trouble at City Hall and heightened expectation over Cabinet appointments.

A day after his departure, cracks at City Hall were laid bare following the resignation of Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe. Mr Igathe said he had failed to earn the trust of his boss Governor Mike Sonko, to run county affairs.

Then the High Court nullified the election of Wajir Governor Mohammed Abdi, making him the first county boss to lose in an election petition. Amb Abdi was elected on a Jubilee Party ticket.

Similarly, the President left 13 Cabinet Secretaries and 42 Principal Secretaries anxious over their future in government.

Defying the leadership

Then there is discontent in Jubilee as four ‘rebel’ MPs fight the party’s decision to de-whip them for defying the leadership decision in the House Committees contest, dethroning the proposed candidates.

The President is expected this week to name the rest of the Cabinet Secretaries as the process of picking PSs gets underway.

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Expectations are high among individuals who played a role in Kenyatta’s re-election campaign either as financiers, political parties and friends among other entities.

The Head of State also has to consider regional and gender balance in the 22-member Cabinet.With anxiety over government composition, it was business as usual for Deputy President William Ruto as he chaired meetings with some CSs excluded from the President’s first line up but directed to stay in office until the new team takes over.

Yesterday, Kenyatta attended celebrations of South Africa ruling party’s 106th birthday. Thousands of ANC members at the Buffalo City Stadium in the industrial town of East London went into a frenzy as President Kenyatta and his delegation entered the venue.

Jubilee Party leaders Vice-Chairman David Murathe and Secretary-General Raphael Tuju accompanied the President.

South Africa Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also ANC President, said Kenyatta’s visit is a clear indication that the two countries want to work together to grow their economies.

“The economy of Kenya cannot succeed if the economy of South Africa fails, and the economy of South Africa cannot succeed if Kenya’s economy fails,” he said.

He said South Africa has a lot to learn from Kenya, especially in the agriculture sector. 

“By modernising agricultural production and developing a substantial pool of skills, we would not only improve food security, but also develop agro-processing, the manufacture of agricultural inputs and increase exports,” said the ANC President.

He said the visit by President Kenyatta would strengthen bond of citizenship of the two countries and the ruling parties.

“President Kenyatta and the Jubilee delegation are here to express fraternal relations between the people of the two countries,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

Calling for the unity of the party, the South Africa DP said the ANC has produced many great sons and daughters who spent their adult lives in the service to the people of South Africa.

He said 2018 has been dedicated to the remembrance of liberation hero, President of ANC and South Africa Nelson Mandela, who would be 100 this year. Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95. [Additional reporting by PSCU]

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