Murmurs in Turkana after Nanok misses on President Ruto's Cabinet list

Former Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok casting his vote at Lodwar Handcraft Polling Station in Turkana Central

Former Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok casting his vote at Lodwar Handcraft Polling Station in Turkana Central Constituency on August 9, 2022.

Photo credit: Sammy Lutta | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Residents were expecting Turkana to retain a slot in the new Cabinet; particularly the Ministry of Petroleum
  • Since independence, only former Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes has been a minister from Turkana in a Kenyan government

Uproar has greeted President William Ruto’s Cabinet lineup, with some Turkana County residents questioning his decision to leave out their former Governor Josphat Nanok.

They accused Dr Ruto of sidelining Mr Nanok, who played a key role in his election campaigns after ditching Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.

Mr Nanok was the director-general of the Kenya Kwanza alliance’s presidential campaign team.

Mr Nanok should have been on the list, they said.

Petroleum docket

Residents were expecting one of their own to head the Ministry of Petroleum. Since independence, only former Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes has been a minister from Turkana in a Kenyan government.

"During political campaigns, Mr Nanok promised us that once Dr Ruto becomes President, Turkana will be at the decision-making table, where all interests will be given priority. Now that he is not in the Cabinet, how will he fulfill his promise?" Ms Monah Lomoe questioned.

She said the national government should give Turkana more attention or it would lose the gains it has made.

Mr Moses Ely, a resident, said the Turkana community should be prepared for tough times ahead.

He said that even if Mr Nanok gets a position in government other than Cabinet Secretary, it will not have a noticeable impact in the community.

Eyes on Principal Secretary

But some residents were optimistic that Mr Nanok will be given a Principal Secretary position in a powerful ministry.

Mr Odinga, the Azimio presidential candidate, garnered 96,117 votes in Turkana in last month's election against Dr Ruto’s 46,696.

Some Turkana residents felt that Mr Nanok failed to deliver more votes to Dr Ruto.

Mr Nanok had told residents that he would work closely with the county administration, if he got a government appointment, for the benefit of locals.

He had also urged all politicians who lost their contests under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) to accept the will of the people and give those elected a chance to fulfill their promises.

He and his former deputy Peter Lotethiro had hoped to get top positions in the Ruto government.

"I will ensure that all the interests of Turkana County are implemented, especially the promise to tackle perennial water scarcity through investment in the discovered Lotikipi aquifer as the first priority,” Mr Nanok said on August 20during the burial of his brother Thomas Narumbe Nanok in Lodwar. 

“Others are livestock production, as well as peace and security."

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