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How Ruto is rewarding loyalists, from top to grassroots mobilisers

 President William Ruto congratulates Trade CS Moses Kuria after he was sworn in at State House on October 27, 2022. Left, Mining CS Salim Mvurya. [PCS]

President William Ruto is rewarding people who helped him ascend to power in the August 9 elections.

The president has ensured a good number of his campaign team members are appointed or nominated to key strategic positions in the Kenya Kwanza administration, with UDA running home with majority of lucrative positions. The positions are in the Cabinet, counties and Parliament.

President Ruto, 55, relied heavily on volunteers to build a Hustler nation, and he has appointed Kithure Kindiki (Interior), Njuguna Ndung'u (National Treasury and Planning), Aisha Jumwa (Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Action), Alice Wahome (Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation), and Davis Chirchir (Energy and Petroleum) to his Hustler Cabinet.

Others are Eliud Owalo (Information, Communication, and Digital Economy), Moses Kuria (Trade, Investment and Industry), Kipchumba Murkomen (Roads, Transport and Public Works), Ababu Namwamba (Sports, Youth and Arts), and Soipan Tuya (Environment and Forestry).

Duale, Kuria, Wahome and Murkomen were instrumental in mobilising their communities and resources to vote for Ruto in the elections, where he got 7,176,141 votes against his closest rival, Raila Odinga, who got 6,942,930.

Women for Ruto

Soipan, who led the Women for Ruto campaigns, was nominated to the Senate but stepped down for Essie Okenyuri, who was part of the Women for Ruto brigade, after being named to the Cabinet.

On October 14, the president appointed 10 people who played a significant role in his campaigns to the Executive Office of the President. They are Hussein Mohamed (State House Spokesperson), David Ndii (Chairperson of the President's Council of Economic Advisors), Felix Koskei (Chief of Staff and Head of the Public Service), Josephat Nanok (Deputy Chief of Staff), Augustine Cheruiyot (Senior Advisor and Head of the Economic Transformation Secretariat), and Kamau Thugge (Senior Advisor and Head of Fiscal Affairs and Budget Policy).

Others are Mohammed Hassan (member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors), Nancy Laibuni (Associate Member, of the President's Council of Economic Advisors), Katoo Ole Metito (State House Comptroller), and David Mugonyi (Head of the Presidential Communication Service).

"I knew I'd have a role in this government, we were working together, but becoming CS was completely out of the blues," said former Gatundu South MP, Moses Kuria.

Another appointee, Kelvin Kiare, who was in charge of UDA's legal affairs and was tasked to research and draft legal tools, said Ruto was working with people he trusts and believes they would transform the country with.

"Most of us wanted change, and Ruto was our man. Most people volunteered because we believed we were serving the nation, and Ruto gave us a hand and platform," Kiare said.

"I did all the UDA petitions to push for accountability against a rigid Jubilee and Azimio government. The boss (Ruto) keeps reminding us to work hard and leave a place better than we found it."

Private secretary

On October 17, the president also appointed Emmanuel Talam (Press Secretary to the Presidential Communication Service), and Reuben Maiyo (Private Secretary).

Among those appointed as PS are Alex Wachira (State Department for Energy), Sylvia Museiya ( State Department for wildlife) and Susan Mangeni (State Department for MSMEs Development), who played a significant role in the Hustler campaign.

At the same time, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology student leader Naomi Ngatia, 22, who coordinated UDA by-elections, was also nominated as an MCA in Nyandarua.

"I formed queensnahustla, a lobby group representing young women in politics," she said.

Others in the communication team include Daniel Githinji, the brain behind UDA tallying centre, the websites and the digital activities.

Githinji is now a nominated MCA in Embu County. He was nominated alongside Everlyn Korir, a volunteer at the front desk, Lydia Jeptoo, an office cook and Evans Kipyegon who served as an office messenger.

Others who served in various capacities such as mobilisation, communication, coordination and logistics include Susan Mwende (Embu), Naomi Ngatia (Nyandarua), Esther Irungu (Kiambu), Sheila Sifuna (Bungoma), Wanjiku Muturi (Kiambu), Esther Irungu ( Kiambu), Steve Mureithi (Nyandarwa), Muhindi Kariuki (Nyandarua), Kariithi Wambui (Nyeri), Emmah Wangui (Nyeri) Brian Itenya (Kirinyaga), Diana Katile (Kirinyaga), and Muteti Murimi (Kirinyaga), among others.

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