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William Ruto fulfils coalition agreement, names Musalia Mudavadi as Prime Cabinet Secretary

President William Ruto, centre, names his cabinet at State House Nairobi. Left, DP Rigathi Gachagua and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi has made a comeback to cabinet after 10 years in the political cold.

Mudavadi’s last appointment was in 2012 when he served as Deputy Prime Minister in former President Mwai Kibaki’s government. He now returns as Prime Cabinet Secretary under President William Ruto’s administration. This is per an agreement signed ahead of the August 9 election.

“That office is the most senior after that of the president and DP office," said Ruto while naming Cabinet nominees at State House Nairobi.

The President said the position of Prime Cabinet Secretary will:

1. Assist the President and the Deputy President in the coordination and supervision of Government Ministries and State Departments;

2. In liaison with the Ministry responsible for Interior and National Administration, oversee the implementation of National Government policies, programs and projects;

3. Chair and Coordinate National Government legislative agenda across all ministries and state departments in consultation with and for transmission to the Party/Coalition Leaders in Parliament;

4. Facilitate inter-ministerial coordination of cross-functional initiatives and programmes;

5. Coordinate and supervise the technical monitoring and evaluation of Government policies, programs and projects across Ministries; and

6. Perform any other function as may be assigned by the President.

Prime Cabinet Secretary nominee and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Power sharing agreement

On May 8, a coalition agreement between Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) and Moses Wetangula's Ford Kenya was filed with the Registrar of Political Parties.

The position of Prime Cabinet Secretary opens up the Kenya Kwanza Alliance to power sharing in a partially expanded Executive, contrary to Ruto’s earlier reluctance to power-sharing arrangements during the campaign against the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

In the power pact, three parties – UDA, ANC and Ford Kenya are recognized as “founding member parties.”

“ANC shall nominate a Prime Cabinet Secretary for appointment by the President of the Republic, in accordance with the Constitution,” the agreement said.

Mudavadi is therefore going to be a de facto “prime minister,” nominated by his party and appointed by the president.

Correcting past mistakes

In what appears to be a correction of coalition mistakes and mischief from the past, Ruto promised to gazette specific functions that would be assigned to the prime cabinet secretary.

Prime Cabinet Secretary nominee Musalia Mudavadi with President William Ruto during a past Kenya Kwanza rally. [David Gichuru, Standard]

More positions coming

In the coming days, as per the agreement, Ford Kenya and ANC will jointly have 30 per cent of the positions in the National Government, including Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, diplomats, and chairs and directors of State corporations.

These positions are reserved for them as political parties, and not as leaders from the Western region. It is expected that they will distribute some of these positions to other parts of the country, where they have a strong following.

Article 22 of the coalition agreement, however, specifically allocated benefits to Western Kenya, including the completion of all bitumen road projects. Other benefits for the region are 1,000 kilometres of new bitumen roads, the revival and modernization of Mumias and Nzoia sugar factories as priority projects.