William Ruto populates Cabinet with political allies, seven women

Cabinet Secretary nominees Aden Duale, Aisha Jumwa and Kipchumba Murkomen. [File, Standard]

President William Ruto Tuesday, September 27, unveiled his 22-member Cabinet, consisting mainly of political allies, even as he went back on his word to have 50 per cent female Cabinet Secretaries.

In keeping other promises, President Ruto assigned Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua seven key responsibilities to “keep him busy.”

Gachagua will deputise the president in the execution of all presidential functions that are allowed by the Constitution, chair public committees, and oversee implementation of Cabinet decisions and departments, among other functions.

Ruto also honoured his deal with the Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, nominating him as Prime Cabinet Secretary. Although the post does not have a ministerial portfolio, the Head of State termed Mudavadi’s position as “perhaps the most senior office after the office of the president and the deputy president,” and assigned various roles. 

“He will assist the President and DP in the coordination and supervision of government ministries and state departments, in liaison with the ministry responsible for Interior and National Coordination, oversee the implementation of national government policies, programmes and projects,” said President Ruto.

“He will chair and coordinate national government legislative agendas across all ministries and state departments in consultation with and for transmission to the party coalition leadership in both the Senate and national assembly.”

Extensive consultations

Ruto said he would assign the Prime Cabinet Secretary any other duty.

The President forwarded the names of the 22 nominees to the Cabinet to the National Assembly for vetting.

Ruto said the list was a result of extensive consultations.

The nominees include former Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, who is poised to replace Fred Matiang’i as the Interior and National Coordination CS. He was Ruto’s chief agent in the August 9 General Election.

Former Central Bank of Kenya Governor, Njuguna Ndung’u, will take over the Treasury docket, with former Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa nominated as Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Action CS.

If approved by the National Assembly, Garissa Township MP Aden Duale will replace Eugene Wamalwa on the Defence docket.

Kandara MP Alice Wahome has been nominated to take up the Water, Sanitation and Irrigation ministry, while former Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua is CS nominee for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs.

Former Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, who lost in the Kiambu governorship race, has been nominated CS for Trade, Investment and Industry, while KenGen Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Miano is nominee for East African Community and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Development docket.

The President also plucked two lawmakers from the Senate - Elgeyo Marakwet’s Kipchumba Murkomen, who has been nominated CS for Roads, Transport and Public Works, and his nominated colleague, Soipan Tuya, who is the Environment and Forestry CS-designate.

Poll losers

Former Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, who lost the Meru governorship race on August 9, has been nominated CS for Agriculture and Livestock Development to take over from Peter Munya.

Former Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu, who unsuccessfully vied to be Nyamira governor, was nominated Education CS.

Former Kwale governor, Salim Mvurya, will lead the Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs ministry.

Davies Chirchir will make a return to the Energy and Petroleum docket if approved by the National Assembly. Current Labour CS, Simon Chelugui, is the only one retained from former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government, and has been nominated for the new Cooperative and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development CS, a docket poised to be in charge of Ruto’s Sh50bn Hustler Fund.

Other nominees are Ababu Namwamba (Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts), Zachariah Mwangi Njeru (Lands, Housing and Urban Development), Peninah Malonza (Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage), Susan Wafula (Health), Florence Bore (Labour and Social Protection) and Eliud Owalo (Information, Communication and Digital Economy).

If approved by Parliament, Mercy Wanjau becomes the Secretary to the Cabinet.

Former National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has been nominated Attorney General.

“Because of their contribution and decision to work with us under difficult circumstances, we won this election,” Ruto said of his allies. “It is important that we set up a new Cabinet early so that we can... fulfill the promises we made to Kenyans.”

The President will open the Parliament tomorrow, paving the way for the vetting of the nominees.

Ruto also nominated Energy CS Monica Juma as advisor on national security, and Harriet Chigai women rights agency advisor.

According to the Constitution, the advisors do not sit in Cabinet, which the supreme law identifies as comprising the President, the Deputy President, Cabinet Secretaries and the Attorney General, meaning that only seven women, not the 11 he promised, will sit in the Cabinet.

Ruto’s announcement was a departure from Uhuru’s unveiling of his first Cabinet in 2013. During the event, the former president and Ruto, who was the DP, announced their nominees jointly, parading them and urging them to make brief remarks.

Although Gachagua and Mudavadi were present at yesterday’s event, none of them spoke.