Ruto orphans: Waruguru, Millicent Omanga, Muthama, Hassan Omar, Malala, Sonko still waiting for state jobs

Former Laikipia Woman Rep, Cate Waruguru. [PHOTO: JOSEPH KIPSANG]

President William Ruto’s government is finally taking shape after his Cabinet picks, including three who had suitablility issues, sailed through the parliamentary vetting process on Wednesday.

The conclusion of the process paved way for Kenya Kwanza Alliance to upscale the implementation its campaign manifesto especially because all those given a nod by MPs are Ruto’s lieutenants who would not need a crash course to understand what they are expected to do in their respective dockets.

In picking members of his Cabinet and other senior executives, loyalty to the Hustler philosophy has been the catchword more than anything else, including experience, regional and gender balance.

From the early days of his election, President Ruto was emphatic that there will be no Handshake deal with his main rival, Azimio’s Raila Odinga though he added the former premier could be considered for some role if he is willing.

The President holds the arrangement that obtained in the past four years in which his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta virtually bring Raila and his allies in the Opposition into government undermined their oversight role and still blames the Handshake for the many problems Kenyans face, including the high cost of living.

At least one year

On Tuesday, for instance, while launching an affordable housing project in Kibra, the President said it will take him at least one year to bring down the price of maize flour from the high of Sh230 he inherited when he came to power.

His position is that rather than subsidise consumption, what is needed are long-term solutions, a position shared by his choice for Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, but which has earned him a rebuke from Raila.

President Ruto with Mwangi Kiunjuri.

Apart from the key lieutenants in Cabinet, most of whose were in the rebellious Tangatanga faction of Jubilee that was fronted by Ruto, other notables in the Hustler movement, which was crusading for a bottom-up economic model, have landed positions at the presidency and State House.

They include the brains behind the bottom-up approach, Dr David Ndii, who will chair the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. Others are Katoo ole Metito (State House Comptoller), presidential campaign chairman and former Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok (Deputy Chief of Staff) and Dr David Ndii (Chairperson of President’s Council of Economic Advisors).

Though he did not play an overt role in the campaigns, another close ally, former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei was named as Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service.

National Assembly Majority Whip Junet Mohammed is among those concerned that majority of the Cabinet slots were taken up by CSs from the home regions of Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua to the detriment of marginalised communities such as the Turkana and Borana,

“The region where the President comes from, 4 ministers come from there including him they are 5. The region where the DP comes from has 8 ministers including him they are 9. When will a Turkana, a Borana, a Kuria be a minister in this country?” he posed on Tuesday.

However, some such as the DP have been clear that their loyalists will be given preference in appointments under a Kenya Kwanza government.

“I want to say thank you to Wetang’ula, people of Bungoma and Trans Nzoia, your votes helped us a lot. Thank you very much our speaker (Moses Wetang’ula). Ndiyo ujue unavuna ulichopanda, si alitusaidia, sasa amepata spika, wengine wanataka kuvuna pahali hawakupanda, wale walipanda, kwanza wavune. Tukimalizana na wale wote walipanda, wakishavuna, wale hawakupanda wachukue yale yatabaki ndiyo tusonge mbele,” said the DP at a function in Uasin Gishu last month.

While Gachagua appeared to be alluding to election losers who were decamping to Kenya, it also came hot on the heels of the controversy generated by the expansion of the shortlist of those who had applied for the positions of Principal Secretary from 477 to 585, which the Public Service Commission (PSC) said was meant to deepen regional balance and gender inclusivity.

Analysts were, however, quick to note that amended list included technocrats who were engaged in the presidential campaigns and Ruto’s allies who lost in the August 9 General Election.

Reward loyalists

It will also not be surprising that the trend will continue with Chief Administrative Secretaries and other openings the President could use to reward the so-called in Kenyan missions abroad and in the parastatals, which offer him opportunities to reward those yet to played critical roles in marshalling support for his election, who have come to be known in some circles as “Ruto orphans.”

While High Court judge Daniel Mrima declared the CAS position as unconstitutional due to failure to conduct public participation, the PSC is defending its decision to continue with the process in court following an injunction secured by the Law Society of Kenya.   

The PSC argues that it conducted public participation before inviting applications from interested Kenyans. The application process, which was to end yesterday (October 27) and the President is keen to make 21 more executive branch appointments possibly to reward more allies.

Some of those still waiting in the wings and who are yet to be linked to any job at least by the time of going to press include United Democratic Alliance (UDA) national chairman Johnstone Muthama, former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar Hassan, former Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, former Laikipia Woman Representative Cate Waruguru, former Soy MP Caleb Kositany, former Nairobi Woman Representative Millicent Omanga, former Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali and former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru.

Millicent Omanga.

Former Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko has also been seen in meetings with Ruto but there is no indication there is any role lined up for him in light of the Supreme Court ruling on his impeachment. Former Sports CS Rashid Echesa is another operative still in the cold.


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