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President checks 'passion meter' as loyalists rewarded

President William Ruto names his Cabinet at State House, Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

President William Ruto has rewarded political loyalists in his new look Cabinet named Tuesday, September 27, as he crafts the Kenya Kwanza Alliance government.

The list of Cabinet Secretaries as read by the resident, was equivalent to a passion meter on who was loyal to him with every docket going to those who stood with him from the time he fell out with former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Names such as those of Aden Duale (Defence), Kithure Kindiki (Internal Affairs) and Kipchumba Murkomen (Roads, Transport and Public Works) will tell who were the founder members of the United Democratic Alliance party on which Ruto rode to the presidency.

In 2019, Duale and Murkomen, then National Assembly and Senate majority leaders, respectively, were unceremoniously removed from their plum positions alongside Prof Kindiki who was the Senate deputy speaker.

Their appointments show Ruto was keen to reward the people who stood with him.

Founder members

In Coast, former Kwale governor Salim Mvurya and former Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa became the face of UDA in the region, initially a stronghold of Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement party.

Jumwa broke away from ODM and became one of the founding members of UDA.

When she lost the Kilifi governor race, many thought that she would be out in the cold until yesterday when she was named as the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Action.

Mvurya landed the position of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs.

In an earlier interview, lawyer Danstan Omari said that the president would appoint more politicians to the Cabinet because they know what the public wants and will make work easy.

“President Ruto has the experience of their government with Uhuru in the first term. It was full of technocrats,” said Omari.

“They were changed after some time because they realised some were not connecting with the people. Clearly, the Head of State could go for more politicians.”

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta, in his first and second terms had technocrats in the Cabinet with only four politicians.

Steadfast support

Before he named his Cabinet, Uhuru had promised that there will be no politicians but managed to squeeze in a few in 2013 and later in 2017.

During the naming of the Cabinet in Jubilee’s first term, Ruto, who was the deputy president, played a crucial role.

Ten years later, President Ruto has to make the hard choice of who will be in his Cabinet.

Equally rewarded because of his steadfast support for Ruto after the fallout with Uhuru were former Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Kandara MP Alice Wahome who were picked to head Trade, Investment and Industry and Water and Irrigation dockets, respectively.

Eliud Owalo earned his space as ICT Cabinet Secretary after he became the lone voice that traversed Nyanza region holding town hall meetings for UDA.

Also rewarded was UDA Kisii governor candidate Ezekiel Machogu who got the Education docket.

Former Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba was also paid back for standing with the president and risking his position in the Uhuru administration. He will head the Sports Ministry.

The entry of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula into the Ruto fold helped change the narrative in Western Kenya and for their support, Wetangula has since been picked as National Assembly Speaker and Mudavadi will become, in the words of President Ruto, “the third most powerful person in the land.”

Mudavadi will assist the president and the deputy in the coordination and supervision of government
ministries. Former Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua joined the Kenya Kwanza Alliance bandwagon after breaking away from Azimio at the peak of the presidential campaigns.

This has seen him join the table of men in Ruto’s Cabinet as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora.

Others with handsome rewards are Nominated Senator Soipan Tuya who was former Narok Woman Representative before Ruto asked her to step down in favour of Rebecca Tonkei.

She had been promised that she would be in government and yesterday, she was named as the Environment Cabinet Secretary, to take over from Keriako Tobiko.