Uhuru and Ruto’s State House show

PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto when they named the first four members of their Cabinet on April 23, 2013 at State House, Nairobi.

What you need to know:

  • Dressed in matching shirts and ties, President and deputy take a different path in naming Cabinet

Enter William Ruto, stage right, in a dazzling white shirt and an equally eye-catching red tie complementing the dark grey pair of trousers. After brief introductory remarks that are pregnant with meaning, the Deputy President sets the pace for the naming of the Jubilee Cabinet.

Enter Uhuru Kenyatta, stage right, dressed in a dazzling white shirt and an equally eye-catching red tie complementing the dark grey pair of trousers. Did the two call each other to consult on their dress code?

The white walls and red roof of State House frame the stage as journalists — like a select audience — wait on the green lawn. The rest of the audience, spread out across the country, watches the unfolding drama from their television sets.

It is like a video and the political show that is about to unfold is unlike any other in Kenya’s 50-year history of naming Cabinet ministers.

The President and his deputy do not reel out 18 names as many had expected. Instead, they will first usher in each nominee — one at a time — onto the stage.

The President then introduces the candidate and gives a citation justifying why each was picked.

This new way of doing things makes the audience catch its breath. If they do this for all the 18 nominees, this is going to take awhile.

The first. The second. Third.

Then, the President says: “Our final nominee tonight...” (Uproar across the country). What about the other 14? Will they name four each day?

But one notices the freshness of the faces. The nominees may be well known... but only to their colleagues, friends and family. And each one has two children.

“I think having two children is a requirement in Uhuru’s Cabinet,” Tonywamae says on his Twitter handle, a sentiment that Ian Wairua echoes on his Facebook wall.

It appears that the two leaders have thrown a bone for Parliament to chew after it on Tuesday named the committee that will vet the nominees for Cabinet Secretaries.

“We want them to start working,” President Kenyatta says.

Not so long after, he invites journalists to ask questions and when it is Star reporter Oliver Mathenge’s turn, Mr Kenyatta says: “Yes, Oliver. I know you!” Ah! The President knows people.

By his own admission, he has received many CVs from people interested in being Cabinet Secretaries. But he has not just spent all his energies reading the resumes. He has been meeting the faces behind the papers. And by his own account, there is no shortage of talent in this country.

After fielding questions from journalists, the President says: “William, hata wewe kuja.” (“William, it is your turn”) and steps away from the lectern to pave the way for his deputy to take centre stage.

Their day’s work done, the President invites journalists for a cup of tea.

Karibuni chai,” he says, gesturing to the catering area, an invitation that according to Nani Hajui Yoga, inspires thousands of young people from western Kenya to enrol for journalism courses. People from western Kenya are known for their partiality for tea. Never mind that Nani Hajui Yoga is a pseudonym.

As the lights fade, Uhuru and Ruto exit the stage, hand-in-hand.

Curtain falls.


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