Kenya: Ministers' Broadsides Against Ruto Widen Rift in Kenyatta Cabinet

12 November 2019

The latest pronouncements by a section of Cabinet secretaries against Deputy President William Ruto over his working relationship with President Uhuru Kenyatta draw a picture of a divided government and an increasingly isolated deputy.

Three Cabinet secretaries who represented the President at a fundraiser in Kenol, Murang'a County, on Sunday, used coded language to lash out at the DP.

They singled out his opposition to the political pact between the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga, his penchant for launching government projects in churches and his alleged defiance to the President's directive to stop early 2022 campaigns.

Information Communication and Technology Joe Mucheru praised the handshake, describing it as a miracle that has enabled the government to focus on development.

"The 'handshake' is a miracle. The beauty of the handshake is that we have been able to focus on development," he said.

GROWTH PROJECTS

The remarks seemed to be directed at Dr Ruto and his lieutenants, who have had their reservations on the truce, with some terming the move as a plot to assist Mr Odinga clinch the Presidency through the back door.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the President would personally visit the region to launch development projects to "prevent some people from launching the same in churches and elsewhere".

He urged locals to vote for leaders who would sustain the development projects initiated by the President.

"The President will visit the region to launch the dualling of the Kenol-Sagana-Marua road. The development we have must be sustained through good leadership," Mr Macharia said.

BBI BACKING

His Interior colleague pointed out that he is in charge of a powerful Cabinet committee that reports directly to the President.

"The President is focused on development and service delivery only and as the Bible teaches us that there is time for everything; it's now time to work. Let's support, pray for and work with the President to serve this country," Dr Matiang'i said apparently in relation to early campaigns.

Elsewhere, Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya hit out at Dr Ruto for opposing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), saying his actions prove he is against government projects.

"BBI is a government project because a task force was appointed by the President, so you can't say you are with the President when you are against it. If you take every opportunity to contradict your boss, then you can't say you are with him," Mr Munya told the Nation on phone.

FAILED LEADER

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, one of Dr Ruto's harshest critics, said the move by CSs to criticise the DP showed that he had failed in his job. The MP said the DP has no power to order ministers around.

"The DP does not have any specific responsibilities. His only mandate is to assist the President. When you see him being criticised by other leaders, it is clear he is not doing his job. The President can't give orders at the Cabinet but his people, including the DP, go against the directives," he said.

Mr Wambugu said this had contributed to the reorganisation of government departments after Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri decided to go into politics.

"Mr Kiunjuri and Dr Ruto are using their positions to play politics, that's why the President reorganised some departments. There will be more changes next year," he added.

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