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Inside William Ruto's last meeting with the Uhuru Cabinet at State House

President William Ruto chairs his first Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi. [PSCU]

President William Ruto chaired his first Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi, Tuesday, September 27, 2022.

Interestingly, the meeting turned out to be the last with CSs appointed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The meeting began at 8am and the outgoing CSs were given an opportunity to share their exit reports. They listed the government projects, completed, ongoing, and those at the planning stage.

In June, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua wrote to all CSs and Principal Secretaries (PSs), directing them to give their exit reports in a month’s time. 

The outgoing CSs and PSs delivered the reports, which were first shared with Uhuru, to President Ruto.

The meeting began with a prayer by Ruto before the CSs gave their briefings to the president and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua.

A former CS said the meeting was tense initially but got relaxed as it progressed.  

Ahead of the elections, half of the Uhuru Cabinet threw their weight behind Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga and campaigned against Ruto.

According to a statement from the meeting, the agenda centred on the economy, the drought in parts of the country, security and the outbreak of Ebola in Uganda.

Cabinet was apprised of the implementation of the Financial Year 2022/23 Budget; and thereafter assessed the fiscal performance for the period ending August 2022.

“Cabinet also assessed some of the risks to the implementation of the Budget such as drought; macroeconomic variables arising from inflation, interest rate, exchange rates and the global prices of key commodities; disruptions in supply chains; and the impact of the geopolitics and various events on the global stage on our local economy,” read the statement.

The statement also noted that the Cabinet sanctioned rationalisation of the Budget to enable realignment of expenditure to bridge the fiscal deficit and to enable the government to respond to emerging national challenges such as the drought and other challenges to food security.

The meeting turned out to be the last with CSs appointed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta. [PSCU]

On drought, Cabinet ratified a proposal by the Joint Working Committee to prioritise relief support to lactating mothers and school children, so as not to widen levels of inequity in society.

Focus was also given to vulnerable persons in hospitals. Further, the Cabinet approved a framework for stronger coordination between the two tiers of government and between state and non-state actors; with a view to building better synergy and eliminating duplication of efforts.

In the medium term, Cabinet authorised a response plan for next year that leverages on resources available so as to ensure that failure in rains does not result in families being unable to feed themselves and livestock.

“In that endeavour, the administration will work closely with our development partners, the county governments, and the private sector to create partnerships that reduce our reliance on rain-fed agriculture, introduce drought resistance crops that withstand extreme conditions, and create early warning and response mechanisms that are activated at the very start of adverse situations rather than when the situations have escalated into disaster conditions,” read the statement.

The Cabinet was also apprised of the national rollout of the National Fertiliser Subsidy Programme; noting that increasing agricultural production was one of the key drivers to attaining food and nutrition security. The Cabinet reviewed the scope of the subsidy programme so as to include a subsidy on fertilizer for tea farmers under the KTDA.

Cabinet also approved a framework to facilitate fertiliser manufacturers who wish to set up blending companies in the country.

The meeting also took note of the attempts by the former Board Members of KTDA to reverse the reforms that had been made in the tea sector.

Cabinet reaffirmed that the government would not turn back on the reforms made by the Uhuru regime aimed at strengthening the good governance of the tea sub-sector.

The Cabinet discussed security with focus on Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties which experience cyclic waves of banditry which have led to loss of lives.