Mudavadi primed for top post in Ruto government

Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance (KKA) intends to create the position of prime cabinet secretary, even as it added clauses aimed at shielding the second-in-command from being undermined by the holder of the proposed powerful office should the coalition form the next government.

At the same time, small political parties in the alliance are facing a new headache after it emerged that positions in government will be shared out based on the number of seats each of them will win in the August 9 polls.

In the agreement between the pioneers of KKA, United Democratic Alliance (UDA) of DP Ruto, Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford Kenya of Moses Wetang’ula, the deputy President and prime cabinet secretary, reportedly to be taken up by Mr Mudavadi, have distinct roles to avert any animosity like the one seen between Dr Ruto and Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i.

President Kenyatta in Executive Order Number 1 of 2019 appointed Dr Matiang’i as the chairperson of the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee, sparking criticism from the DP’s camp that the appointment was designed to undermine him.

“For proper and efficient management and running of government, the President shall assign his deputy roles such as chairing cabinet committees, overseeing the implementation of cabinet decisions, coordinating intergovernmental relations between the national and county governments, coordinating, planning and supervising implementation of development partners’ funded programmes and projects,” the Kenya Kwanza deal states.

The DP in Dr Ruto’s government, the deal says, will also coordinate constitutional commissions and independent offices in matters that require the intervention of the national government including but not limited to budgets and policy frameworks for their operations.

The prime cabinet secretary will be responsible for assisting the President and his deputy in the coordination and supervision of government ministries and state departments, and coordinating and supervising the technical monitoring and evaluation of government policies, programmes and projects.

Mr Mudavadi, in the proposed powerful role, will also be expected to coordinate and supervise national government functions and oversee the implementation of national government policies and programmes. He will oversight the government’s legislative agenda across all ministries and state departments in consultation with the coalition’s leaders in Parliament.

“Within 30 days following the General Election, the coalition shall introduce in Parliament legislation that shall provide greater clarity on the position, roles and functions of Prime Cabinet Secretary. The legislation so introduced shall amend the national government coordination Act of 2013 to include the office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary and incorporate and align the functions,” reads the agreement.

According to the deal, Mr Wetang’ula is set to be the Speaker of the National Assembly. The herculean task for the two leaders from Western region, however, is to deliver the 70 percent votes in an area which is under the grip of Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential hopeful Raila Odinga.

At the same time, the agreement, which was deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties on Sunday, ties the fortunes of small parties to the number of seats they clinch in the Senate, National Assembly, Council of Governors and county assemblies. However, the clause does not apply to the big three—UDA, ANC and Ford Kenya.

This means that the other 11 parties including the likes of Maendeleo Chap Chap of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi’s Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), who joined the alliance this week, will have to fight for their own space.

The ramification of this is that the small outfits have to work extra hard to reap from the spoils of the vote and avoid a possible fallout with their coalition partners.

It also means that these political outfits have to increase their stakes so as to be considered at the national table where key decisions are made.

Political pundits argue that such a clause remains a real test for small parties on whether they can put up a spirited battle to beat bigwigs. This is because a win or loss could either make or break them, depending on how well or badly they perform in the upcoming elections.

According to Prof Masibo Lumala of Moi University, such an agreement risks punishing those deemed as non-performers, and throwing most of these entities into political oblivion since those who will have not won any seat will have no voice in that arrangement in case DP Ruto clinches the presidency.