What you need to know:
- The cabinet will take over at a time when President Ruto is under pressure to deliver on his mandate at the highest level of public service.
- The new officials will be in charge of proposing, modifying, and implementing policy as well as being the overall leaders of implementing the Head of State’s vision in their various dockets.
- Former Vice-President Musalia Mudavadi was approved for the post of Prime Cabinet Secretary. Dr Ruto has proposed his office to be the implementation and legislative coordination wing of the government.
President William Ruto’s Cabinet secretaries, approved by Parliament yesterday, will have a full in-tray as the work of fulfilling election pledges in various sectors starts in earnest.
The 22 Cabinet secretaries, Attorney-General Justin Muturi, and Secretary to the Cabinet Mercy Wanjau will take over at a time when President Ruto is under pressure to deliver on his mandate at the highest level of public service.
The new officials will be in charge of proposing, modifying, and implementing policy as well as being the overall leaders of implementing the Head of State’s vision in their various dockets.
Former Vice-President Musalia Mudavadi was approved for the post of Prime Cabinet Secretary. Dr Ruto has proposed his office to be the implementation and legislative coordination wing of the government.
Mr Mudavadi will chair principal secretaries’ committees and supervise the technical monitoring and evaluation of government policies, programmes, and projects, oversee their implementation, as well as chair and coordinate the national government legislative agenda across all ministries and departments.
He will also head the newly created Government Delivery Unit, which will be in charge of monitoring and documenting the progress in executing government projects.
During his vetting, Mr Mudavadi said there is a need for the Kenya Kwanza manifesto to be turned into a policy paper so as to rectify any pitfalls that may have been overlooked during its drafting.
Former National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, approved as the next Attorney-General, has a Herculean task at the State Law Office as the current AG has been accused of lethargy and losing many cases in court, thereby passing the legal costs, amounting to millions of shillings, to taxpayers.
When the matter came up during his vetting, Mr Muturi said there has been laxity and negligence in the Attorney-General’s office and that there is a need for all ministries to involve the office during the pre-contractual period when making financial agreements.
For former Majority Leader Aden Duale, approved as Defence CS, the long-running tussle between Kenya and Uganda over Migingo Island and the continued stay of the Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia (now 11 years) will rank high on his agenda when he settles down to work.
During his vetting, Mr Duale said the Migingo issue is being handled by both the national and international boundaries committees. The suffering of Kenyan migrant workers and the pain of acquiring visas are among the tasks awaiting former Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua as Foreign and Diaspora Affairs CS.
During his vetting, Dr Mutua said his first task will be to travel to the Middle East to sort out the migrant workers’ issue. He added that he will negotiate bilateral agreements with countries, including the United Kingdom and South Africa, to address delays Kenyans have been experiencing in getting visas.
Former Kandara MP Alice Wahome, approved as Water CS, is coming into office at a time the country is facing severe drought.
Ms Wahome told MPs that she will supervise the creation of dams, harvesting and storing rainwater, digging boreholes, and investing in water storage tanks to combat drought. She said the government has an ambitious plan of raising Sh1.8 trillion by 2030 to help deal with water and sanitation issues.
There will be no honeymoon for Prof Kithure Kindiki, the approved Interior and Administration of National Government CS, as police officers await a review of their salaries, as the Kenya Kwanza Alliance promised during the campaigns.
Prof Kindiki will be responsible for the key task of ensuring professionalism among police officers, who have been accused of allowing themselves to be used for political expediency.
President Ruto will heavily rely on Prof Njuguna Ndung’u at the National Treasury to revive Kenya’s dwindling economic fortunes. During his vetting, Prof Ndung’u said there is a need to tighten the monetary policy in order to create a fiscal space that will address any unforeseen shocks.
On the rising public debt, Prof Njuguna regretted that the debt value and the government's failure to service it has continued to paralyse the country’s economy. He pledged to use concessional financing to solve the problem.
The burden of revamping the country’s public service is on the shoulders of Aisha Jumwa, the approved Gender, Public Service and Affirmative Action CS.
Among the tasks she will undertake will be to give assurance that the distribution of job opportunities in the public service will be done across the regions, including areas that did not vote for President Ruto. During her vetting, she pointed out the need to harmonise remuneration in the public service.
For Davis Chirchir, who returns to the Energy and Petroleum ministry, the country will be relying on him to lower the cost of electricity and revamp the energy sector.
Kenyans have been burdened by high electricity costs, a fact that Mr Chirchir acknowledged during his vetting, saying, there is a need to generate more electricity from geothermal and other sources to prevent over-reliance on fuel engines.
Cost of power
President Ruto, who campaigned on the platform of uplifting the poor and lowering the cost of power and fuel, will be relying on Mr Chirchir to turn around the situation and help him fulfil this pledge.
Mr Moses Kuria, approved as Trade CS, has his work cut out for him in ensuring a good business environment to accommodate the many “hustlers”.
Kenya Kwanza promised hustlers a conducive operating environment. Mr Kuria will be in charge of protecting Kenyan goods against dumping and subsidised imports and recommending countervailing measures.
During his vetting, he said he would implement business-friendly policies that transcend politics.
For Roads, Transport and Public Works Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will be on his radar. While being vetted, the lawyer promised to make public the SGR contract. He will be in charge of, among others, developing, standardising, and maintaining roads, testing materials, and advising on usage.
All the “hustlers” who propelled President Ruto to power are now waiting for Simon Chelugui, the only CS from the previous administration, to implement the promised Sh50 billion Hustler Fund.
As Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMEs) CS, Mr Chelugui will be the man of the moment as he is at the centre of the implementation of the Hustler Fund to be launched on December 1. During vetting, he said the fund will attract a single-digit interest rate.
The thorny issue of climate change, dwindling forest cover, and President Ruto’s vision to plant 15 billion trees in 10 years will fall on the shoulders of Soipan Tuya, the Environment CS.
She will be in charge of the national environmental policy and management, climate change policy, as well as restoration and protection of strategic water towers.
After surviving rejection yesterday, the task of reviving the tourism sector is now on Peninah Malonza’s shoulders. Her functions include the development of tourism policy and standards and the promotion of tourism.
The task of addressing historical land injustices is in the hands of Mr Zacharia Mwangi. He told the MPs vetting him that he would implement the Ndung’u Commission and Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission reports, which deal with land matters.
President Ruto is looking up to Health CS Susan Wafula for the provision of affordable healthcare to all Kenyans, as promised during campaigns, and reform at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority.
Farmers are restless as they wait for Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi to provide cheap fertilisers at Sh2,500, as promised by Dr Ruto during his campaigns.
The CS will be in charge of the national food policy, strategic food reserves, and agricultural crop development regulation and promotion.
For CS Eliud Owalo, the burden of enhancing internet connectivity and revamping the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and Postal Corporation of Kenya will rank high on his priority list as he takes charge of the ICT ministry.
Murky waters of CBC
All eyes will be on Mr Ezekiel Machogu, the approved Education CS, on how he will navigate the murky waters of the Competency-Based Curriculum, with a task force collecting views from the public on how to improve the new education system. Mr Machogu also comes to the office at a time of a sustained debate on teacher deployment.
Sports lovers will be looking to Ababu Namwamba, the approved Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts CS, to bring back Kenya’s lost glory in football, with the global governing body, Fifa, having banned the country from the upcoming African Championships 2023.
As head of the youth docket, Mr Namwamba will be in charge of the National Youth Service (NYS), the multi-billion shilling agency that has in the past been riddled with graft.
Mending relations between Kenya and its neighbours in the East African Community (EAC) will be Ms Rebecca Miano’s first major task as she gets down to work as Cabinet Secretary for EAC, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development.
Mr Salim Mvurya, CS for Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs, the task of revamping mining and fishing sectors lies on his shoulder at a time the President's eyes appear to be zeroed in on the oceans and other unexplored ventures.
Labour CS Florence Bore settles down to work with a ready plan to rescue migrant workers suffering in the Middle East. She also takes office amid a sustained push for higher salaries by various workers.