Deputy President William Ruto, who for a while now has been seen to be antagonising President Uhuru Kenyatta, attended a Cabinet meeting today, sparking talk and excitement in equal measure.
The May 12 meeting at State House-Nairobi was the first to be held in over a year.
Ever since President Kenyatta struck a truce deal with ODM leader Raila Odinga in March 2018, Ruto has been operating on the periphery of government.
Kenyatta is on the record saying he’s achieved more in his second term in office than he did in his first when Ruto was a key cog in government administration.
Given the acrimonious nature of their fallout, a section of Kenyans expected the DP to give the Thursday Cabinet meeting a wide berth, but he did not.
Pictures shared by the State House on its official Twitter page showed at least 15CVabinet Secretaries and the deputy president in the meeting chaired by the president.
State House said, “several matters of national and international importance will be discussed [at the Cabinet meeting]”.
In the wake of heated public exchanges between the president and his deputy, we sought to find out what could have motivated the DP to attend the convention, yet pulling a no-show could have been an option, given the cold nature of the pair’s relationship.
A source, who is a key player in the DP’s communications team, told The Standard that Ruto did not want the president to have any reasons to blame him (Ruto) for antagonising government functions and processes.
“First, we all know it is his right to attend Cabinet meetings, given he is Kenya’s deputy president. However, the most important motivation is that he doesn’t want the Head of State to find a basis of attacking him while on the campaign trail,” said our informant, who sought anonymity.
“You’d remember how on, on May 1, the president accused the DP of neglecting him in his hour of need. To the president’s credit, he invited the DP for the Thursday Cabinet meeting. We know that had WSR (Ruto) failed to attend the convention, the president would have found concrete ground to attack the DP, painting him as someone who complains yet doesn’t want to offer solutions at the brainstorming table,” said our source.
Our phone calls to DP’s senior communications representatives Emanuel Tallam and David Mugonyi went unanswered.
According to Chapter 9 Article 152 of the Constitution, a Cabinet comprises the President, the Deputy President, the Attorney-General and not fewer than 14 and not more than 22 Cabinet Secretaries.
The last time President Kenyatta chaired the Cabinet meeting was on February 18, 2021, when they discussed Jubilee’s Big Four Agenda and Vision 2030 flagship projects.
In absence of Cabinet meetings, the ministers have been attending Cabinet sub-committee routine meetings chaired by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i every Tuesday to deliberate on government business.
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As the elections approach, parties with presidential candidates, especially the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), which is led by Ruto, have been pushing the president to appoint a Secretary to the Cabinet, who will play a very key role in ensuring smooth leadership transition process.