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Ruto absent as Uhuru meets top government officials

By Jacob Ngetich and Roselyne Obala | February 19th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses top government officials during a meeting at State House, Nairobi yesterday. [PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday convened a meeting where he rallied top government officials to take lead in ensuring the full implementation of the Big Four agenda.

Deputy President William Ruto was, however, absent at the special Cabinet meeting and another general meeting at 2.30pm, where Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and Chief Administrative Secretaries (CASs) were in attendance.

During the meetings at State House, Nairobi, the President was flanked by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, who also doubles up as the chair of the Cabinet Committee on Projects and Programmes Implementation. Also present was Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. The DP was hold up at his official residence in Karen.

Dissatisfied

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Sources at the meeting yesterday told The Standard Uhuru directed senior government officials to take lead in popularising the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

“BBI is my pet project. As you go out, explain to the people about it and why it is good for the country,” the President said.

The meeting comes days after the Head of State dared the DP to resign if he was dissatisfied with the government.

The meeting gave the strongest indicator that the President was out to consolidate his administration, even as Ruto mounts a vigorous campaign to succeed him.

Asked why his boss did not attend the State House meeting, Ruto’s Director of Communication Emmanuel Tallam said the DP was not invited.

“My boss was not aware of the meeting. As far as I know, the Deputy President was not invited. Let State House clarify,” said Mr Tallam.

Contacted to shed light on Ruto’s absence at the meeting, the President’s spokesperson Kanze Dena-Mararo said: “No comment”.

The Standard has also reliably learnt of a looming Cabinet reshuffle, where the President is reportedly planning to extend the parliamentary purge on the Executive against Ruto sympathisers in government.

“There is anxiety among my colleagues. No one knows their fate. Even those who were reshuffled do not understand why they were moved; whether it is related to politics or non-performance,” a CS who sought anonymity said.

Another CS denied claims that the meeting was a dress-down by the Head of State, saying they discussed how to achieve the Jubilee agenda and election pledges.

Ms Dena, in a statement to newsrooms, said the President used the meeting to discuss government priorities for the current calendar year.

“The meeting brought together Cabinet Secretaries, Chief Administrative Secretaries and Principal Secretaries to, among other matters, deliberate on the status of ongoing national government programmes covering the Big Four agenda and Vision 2030 flagship projects,” read the statement.

Those in attendance said Uhuru outlined his vision and priorities for the year, including completion of government projects in all sectors and the country.

Further, the President instructed the officials to ensure prudent utilisation of public resources in service delivery.

Notably, the invitation for the State House meeting was done late in the night.

The meeting came hours after Uhuru made changes to the Executive, which saw some CASs fired, others reassigned, while eight new ones were appointed to serve for the remaining 17 months of the Jubilee government.

Uhuru appointed allies of ODM leader Raila Odinga, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi’s as CAS.

Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang was moved to State Department for Regional and Northern Corridor Development, while CAS Zack Kinuthia swapped places with the Sports’ Hassan Noor Hassan.

The chair of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Sara Ruto replaced Dr Belio. Livestock and Fisheries PS Japheth Ntiba Micheni was moved to State Law Office as CAS.

Newly appointed CASs are Eric Simiyu Wafukho (Treasury), Jackson Kalla (Labour and Social Protection), Lawrence Angolo Omuhaka (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives). Mr Omuhaka and Mr Kalla served as chief officers in Kakamega and Machakos counties respectively.

Raila ally David Osiany was appointed as CAS for Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development.

Francis Owino moved from Industrialisation Ministry to Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy. Uhuru also merged the State departments for Mining and Petroleum, which are now under the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining.

Expedite implementation

“The presidential action seeks to foster operational efficiency, institutionalise and expedite the implementation of various ground-breaking reforms, and introduce functional changes that shall make ministries and State departments more effective and able to deliver on their mandates,” Uhuru’s office said.

Former Tharaka MP Alex Mburi Mwiru was appointed CAS of Lands and Physical Planning while Gideon Mung’aro moved to the Ministry of Devolution.

This comes even after the President sent CSs to inspect progress of flagship projects.


President Uhuru Kenyatta William Ruto Cabinet meeting BBI
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