Deputy President William Ruto will this morning see eye to eye with his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta in the country’s first full Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi in over a year.
DP Ruto, who has gone bare knuckle with the Head of State and concentrating on his State House bid, is likely to find himself in a peculiar environment, having upped his criticism of the President Kenyatta-led government in the recent past.
DP Ruto's director of communication Emmanuel Talam on Thursday told the Nation that the country's second-in-command had been invited for the Cabinet meeting and will be attending.
"He (DP Ruto) was invited and he is attending," Mr Talam said in a short text message response.
Dr Ruto will be facing some of the Cabinet Secretaries who have always hit at him for trying to paint the government as ineffective and his boss President Kenyatta who during Labour Day celebrations asked him to resign and let him look for a person who can assist him deliver on his campaign pledges.
He also attends the meeting having taken on his boss head on in response, insisting that he had not absconded his duties and that President Kenyatta should not blame for the failure of the people he replaced him with, to deliver.
For the DP, the President had asked him to take the backbench seat and allow him run the government in the best way he wanted, and hence those who had been assigned his responsibilities should carry their cross.
"I have supported the President since 2002 until he told me that he no longer need my advice. Even now, he has realised that the people whom he gave work, have done nothing. The only thing I would want to request, let no one blame me for the whatever I have not been involved in," said the DP in Bungoma recently.
He went ahead: "When I used to help President Uhuru Kenyatta, there was no gap anywhere. Currently, there are people who are trying to lecture me that I have absconded my responsibilities, let them tell me what I was assigned and I didn't discharge."
Dr Ruto insisted that he discharged all duties that his boss assigned him and those outlined in the country's Constitution while extending an olive branch to Mr Kenyatta saying that he is very ready to step in and assist.
"When I am required to give any advice, discharge any responsibility, I am ready because I am the Deputy President until August 8," said DP Ruto.
In early October 2020, some Cabinet colleagues reportedly pressed the DP over what they described as divisive campaigns in which he attacked public officials and his allies demonised some of his colleagues in government.
Today’s meeting is also coming at a time when DP Ruto’s allies led by Garissa Township MP Aden Duale have been reading malice in the delay by President Kenyatta to appoint Secretary to the Cabinet.
According to Article 154 of the Constitution, the Secretary to the Cabinet be nominated and, with the approval of the National Assembly, appointed by the President.
The holder of the office chairs the Assumption of Office committee, which plans the swearing-in of a new president, after the elections.
The Secretary to the Cabinet is also in charge of arranging the business, and keeping the minutes of the Cabinet, convey the decisions of the Cabinet to the appropriate persons or authorities; and have other functions as directed by the Cabinet.
Mr Duale says any further delay by the President in naming the holder of the office may jeopardise the transition plans.
No other person, other than one nominated by the President and approved by the National Assembly, can hold the office, the former majority leader said.
“The challenge comes in noting that the National Assembly is on recess and resumes next month May 9 and shall continue in session for only four weeks before it finally goes to sine die (adjourned with no appointed date of resumption). What this means is that there are only four weeks left for a Secretary to the Cabinet to be appointed. If this is not done, the assumption processes for the next President-Elect may be jeopardized and negated with no leadership to govern the committee,” Mr Duale explained.
Besides the Secretary to the Cabinet, other members of the 22-member Assumption of Office of President Committee are Attorney General Paul Kihara, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Chief of Kenya Defence Forces Robert Kibochi, Director of National Intelligence Services Gen Philip Wachira Kameru and Chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi.
Others members of the committee are eight Permanent Secretaries, Inspector General of Police, Clerk of the National Assembly, and three persons nominated by the President-elect.
The committee is tasked with facilitating the handing over process by the outgoing president to the president-elect and to organize the security of the president-elect.
It also coordinates the briefing of the president-elect by relevant public offices, facilitates communication between the outgoing president and the president-elect.
Further, the committee is tasked with the responsibility of preparing the handing over programme which includes the details swearing-in ceremony.
The last holder of the office was Mr Francis Kimemia, with President Kenyatta’s nomination of current Energy Cabinet Secretary Dr Monica Juma shot down by Parliament in June 2015.
“His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta wishes to express his profound disappointment with the National Assembly’s decision to reject the nomination of Dr Monica Juma as Secretary to the Cabinet,” State House said then.
“The President notes that the rejection of this nominee is the spurning of a public servant whose performance has consistently delivered professionalism, integrity and commitment to the duties of government and the wellbeing of Kenyans.”
The President protested that Parliament did not give Dr Juma, a former ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, as well as Defence and Interior PS, a fair chance.
“The reasons cited by the Parliamentary Committee, that vetted her for their rejection, reflected her professional and correct demand that proper procedures be followed in the efficient delivery of public services,” State House said in its protest.