Hope as President William Ruto highlights key priorities

President William Ruto signs a certificate during his inauguration at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi County. [DPPS]

President William Ruto laid out the trajectory of his administration during his inauguration Tuesday, September 13, reeling out immediate and ambitious actions touching on various areas affecting Kenyans, including the economy, Judiciary, education, electoral and other reforms. 

The new Head of State sought to highlight key priorities of his manifesto that would be implemented immediately, signifying his intention to hit the ground running to deliver on key campaign pledges.

At the same time, the President - acutely aware of the divisive nature of political campaigns - gave positive takeaways that promise better days ahead as regards the unity of the country that has been wracked by division. 

While acknowledging and paying tribute to his worthy opponents, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua, Dr Ruto promised that the duo's voters in the just concluded General Election - whose campaigns had very little to do with ethnicity but largely based on economic agenda and the promise of transformative leadership - were his constituents.

By moving to appoint six judges nominated to the Court of Appeal and Environment and Lands court by the Judiciary Service Commission but rejected by his predecessor, the President not only underlined his eagerness to rebuild the confidence in the Judiciary but also to respect court orders. He also signalled a strong desire to break from the Jubilee administration's blatant disregard for court orders. 

This is a welcome move, and we hope that this will run through government even when some decisions are not favourable to the President or his allies. Article 159 of the Constitution upholds judicial authority and should therefore bind the mighty in government and the lowly in society in equal measure. 

The President also touched on the dogged subject of electoral reforms, promising to support the institutional capacity building of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to deploy technology in all elections, starting from the Ward level.

President William Ruto (centre) takes the oath of office during his inauguration at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi. [PPS]

By doing so, the President confronted a subject that has stood out like a sore thumb every five years and created tension since the run-up to multi-party elections in the 1990s. This is as it should be and should be pursued to the logical conclusion to assure the country of free and fair polls.

It was also noteworthy that the President revisited the contentious rollout of the Competency-Based Curriculum - which has caused a hue and cry from stakeholders on the manner of its implementation - by promising to set up a task force to collect views from stakeholders with a view to reforming it. As his government embarks on this delicate task, it is our hope that it is done with the best interests of the learners at heart.

As the new administration moves to unite the country, Ruto has a tough task of rebuilding trust and confidence in government institutions and independent agencies. The same independence must be extended to Parliament, to enable it to discharge its representation, legislative and oversight function effectively and not as an appendage of the Executive.

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