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Ruto lauded for historic pick of three PSs from marginalised area

North Eastern and Coast Political leaders. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The appointment of three principal secretaries from the counties of Isiolo, Marsabit, and Tana River has sparked interest in the arid region.

Kello Harsama was named Principal Secretary in the State Department of Crops Development, Mohammed Liban in the State Department of Petroleum, and Idris Dokata in the State Department of Arid Lands, Semi-Arid Lands, and Regional Development.

Saku MP Dido Rasso and Marsabit Woman MP Naomi Waqo yesterday said in Nairobi that the three appointments were historic because it was the first time the three counties felt included in government.

“We come from an area affected by drought and lack of water. By having Kello, Liban and Dokota in these key dockets we are assured they will advise the government accordingly and ensure the challenges our people face are addressed,” said Rasso.

Rasso asked the President to include the three counties among those who will benefit from the country’s 100 dam projects.

He said this will help solve the perennial drought crisis.

Divided

Waqo, the Deputy Majority Whip in the National Assembly, said the area was divided during the campaigns.

They were intimidated and threatened while campaigning for the president. The leaders said they were grateful that he recognised and rewarded their efforts.

The Marsabit County MP expressed gratitude that the President kept his word and included the area in the first phase of his administration’s formation, and that he will include more professionals from the region, which has long been marginalised.

“We thank the President for appointing the three Principal Secretaries; I am the Deputy Majority Whip in the National Assembly, and Rasso is the vice chairperson of the National Assembly Committee on Administration and Internal Affairs,” Wako said.

The leaders said they have been assured that the President will address the region’s ongoing conflict, which has resulted in deaths, injuries, and property destruction, impoverishing residents.

President Ruto’s operatives in Gusiiland have moved to assuage residents who have accused him of ignoring Nyamira county when making top government appointments.

The growing discontent among locals comes a day after President Ruto swore in 51 Principal Secretaries, none of whom were from the region. 

“This is the first time we have seen our community without a PS representative. We are not happy about this,” said John Kebaso, the chairman of Nyamira Civil Society.

Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo said the President had engaged in outright discrimination against the people of Nyamira by failing to appoint anyone from the region to his cabinet.

Under-represented

He said the region has never been underrepresented in previous regimes.

“We have never witnessed such government abandonment.” We’ve always had a cabinet secretary or a press secretary. And we’ve grown accustomed to it,” Nyaribo said.

Despite their support for Ruto in the run-up to the August elections, residents and some leaders believe the region has been marginalised by the new regime.

According to critics, Ezekiel Machogu was given the Education Ministry position solely to appease the people of Kisii county, where he is from.

Yesterday, however, Ruto’s regional allies came to his defence, saying the region is firmly in his administration.

The president, according to North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko, will reward the region.

“We are confident that the President has our best interests in mind as a community because we have already been assigned the position of Cabinet Secretary as Gusii people.

“We should be patient and wait for the President to give us another chance because it is still too early to complain,” Nyamoko said.

Be patient

On Friday, the Public Service Commission named former Kitutu Masaba MP Shadrack Mose as one of the shortlisted candidates for the position of Solicitor General, alongside Nyambega Mose, who was unsuccessful in his bid for the Nyamira Senatorial seat.

Former Kitutu Masaba MP Shadrack Mose said the President’s goodwill was still sufficient for the people of Gusii and that they should be patient with him.

“We know our President’s promises to the Gusii Community are genuine, and it is only prudent that we give him time as he reorganises his government to plan well for every Kenyan,” Mose said.

Kemosi, who applied for the CAS position, also said the President was on track with structuring his government.

“We have been closely following the President’s plans, and we cannot be justified in complaining that he has not met our community’s expectations. Let us show him the respect he deserves as he establishes the foundations for his rule. We are confident that he will act when the time comes,” Kemosi said.