President William Ruto last evening shuffled his government for the first time, where some of his Cabinet Secretaries who have been prone to gaffes and outrageous public utterances were taken to less visible dockets.
In the changes that take effect immediately, controversial Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria was moved to the Ministry of Public Service Performance and Delivery Management, while Dr Alfred Mutua was also transferred from Foreign and Diaspora Affairs to Tourism and Wildlife.
Another controversial CS, Alice Wahome, who has been in the news after she clashed with her Principal Secretary, has been removed from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development. Her place has been taken by Zachary Njeru, formerly of Lands.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi was also affected following the reorganisation and expansion of his ministry. In communicating the changes, Chief of Staff and Head of Civil Service Felix Koskei said Mudavadi’s docket had been expanded to include Foreign and Diaspora Affairs.
Others who were affected by the changes include Rebecca Miano who will now head the Trade and Investments ministry and Peninah Malonza who moves to the Ministry of East African Community, Asal and Regional Development. Aisha Jumwa will now head the Gender, Culture, Arts and Heritage ministry.
At the same time, eight Principal Secretaries were affected by the new changes. Among those who were shuffled were Dr Paul Ronoh, who will now be in charge of Crops and Development, Veronica Nduva (Performance and Delivery Management), Anne Wangombe (Gender and Affirmative Action), Idris Dokota (Department of Cabinet Affairs) and Shadrack Mwandime who takes charge at the Labour and Skills Development.
Julius Korir has been moved to Water and Irrigation department while Harsama Kello is now in Asal and Regional Development while Geoffrey Kaituko will head Shipping and Maritime Affairs.
The President also nominated and deployed 31 ambassadors and 14 deputy envoys.
Among the new postings are Betty Chebet Cheron who will represent Kenya in Paris, France, Fredrick Musambili (Rome-Italy), Angeline Musili (Sweden), Stella Orina (Berlin-Germany), Maurice Makoloo (Vienna, Austria), Peter Ngure (Unesco), Emmy Kisoi (South Korea), Wilson Kogo (Australia), Lt Gen Albert Kendagor (TelAviv-Israel).
Other envoys are Mohamed Adan (Qatar), Tabu Irina (Ireland), Fouza Abdirahan (Switzerland), Kirigo Kubai (Somalia), Joyce Mmaitsi (Angola), Anthony Ngugi (Netherlands), Arthur Andambi (Japan) and Daniel Nganda (Dubai).
The changes came at a time there has been speculation of a looming reshuffle while some pundits had even fronted some names of senior officials who were likely to be axed. On Wednesday, Koskei said that “the executive action aligns the ministries, state departments and Kenya’s foreign service to optimise performance and enhance service delivery as set out in the administration manifesto.”
The new changes were contained in Executive Order No 2 of 2023 and come barely a month after all the Cabinet secretaries signed performance contracts with the president.
At the same time, President Ruto’s government now has a spokesperson, former nominated MP Isaac Mwaura who will be deputised by former journalist Mwanaisha Chidzuga and Gabriel Muthuma.
Recently dropped Kemsa CEO Terry Ramadhan has been rewarded with the post of deputy ambassador. Mudavadi, the biggest winner in the reshuffle, has been the unofficial ambassador for the government since it was inaugurated. The Prime Cabinet Secretary has emerged as the blue-eyed boy who Ruto periodically entrusts to represent him at functions locally and abroad.
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The Prime Cabinet Secretary, the third in command in the Executive pecking order, will next week represent the President at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, (UNHCR) 74th session of the executive Committee of the High Commissioners Programme in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mudavadi has represented Ruto at seven international events in the United Kingdom, Burundi, Angola Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
In September, he represented the President during the inauguration of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa as he assumed his second term.
In May, Mudavadi also represented President Ruto during the inauguration of Nigeria President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Abuja.
Mudavadi led the Kenyan delegation to Bujumbura, Burundi, for a meeting of signatory countries of the framework agreement for peace, security and cooperation for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region bringing together Heads of State from the great lakes region.