William Ruto
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Revealed: Casualties in Ruto’s new tough measures

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President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in a group photo with the newly sworn-in Chief Administrative Secretaries at State House, Nairobi on March 23, 2023. 

Photo credit: File | PCS

Politicians, advisers and hundreds of civil servants are the first casualties of austerity measures announced by President William Ruto in an attempt to assuage Kenyans dissatisfied with his leadership.

Public officers who have attained the age of 60 have been directed to proceed on retirement immediately.

Several state-owned enterprises have been retaining staff beyond the retirement age, a scenario that has blocked young people from taking the jobs.

The National Social Security Fund and the Kenya School of Government are some of the parastatals with a huge ageing workforce.

It is not clear if the directive affects state officers appointed by President Ruto.

Several, including Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei, have attained retirement age.

Similarly, politicians – including former governors and lawmakers – who had lined up for Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) positions stare at a bleak future after Dr Ruto suspended hiring for the positions.

Poll losers

Fifty politicians – mostly 2022 election losers – had been named to the positions before the recruitment was halted by the High Court.

Former governors Evans Kidero (Nairobi) and Samuel Tunai (Narok) are some of the poll losers who had been made CASs.

Other prominent politicians are former MPs Millicent Omanga, Nicholas Gumbo, Wilson Sossion, Charles Njagua Kanyi, Wesley Korir, Rehema Jaldesa, Chris Wamalwa, Benjamin Washiali, Cate Waruguru, Ann Wanjiku Mwangi and Nicholas Ngabiya Rioba.

The President also ordered a reorganisation of parastatals that will see the dissolution of several.

“Forty seven state corporations with overlapping and duplicative functions will be dissolved, resulting in the elimination of their operational and maintenance costs. Their functions will be integrated into the respective line ministries,” President Ruto said in Nairobi.

 “Staff employed by the affected corporations will be transferred to ministries and other state agencies.”

There are 290 parastatals, eighty being commercial corporations.

A high number are in the energy, ICT, financial and transport sectors.

Dr Ruto also announced the reduction of advisers in the government. The budget for presidential advisers in the withdrawn Finance Bill, 2024 was Sh1.1 billion.

In a recent report, the Public Service Commission (PSC) accused the offices of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and Cabinet Secretaries of hiring advisers exceeding the numbers provided.

At least 250 officers were appointed as personal staff in the Office of the Deputy President and advisers to Cabinet Secretaries without competitive recruitment.

In a December 2023 circular, the commission also accused ministers of handing some of their advisers excess powers.

That was after it emerged that some advisers had been overstepping their mandate to the extent of seeking to supervise technical staff in ministries.

Cabinet Secretaries, are entitled to not more than two advisers but some have hired more.

In the changes, the President announced a Sh177 billion cut to plug the budget deficit following the withdrawal of the much-maligned Finance Bill, 2024.

In the live address to the nation from State House, President Ruto said the government would present a proposal to the National Assembly to approve expenditure cuts after the withdrawal of the bill that was intended to raise Sh346 billion in new taxes.

46,000 JSS teachers

 The Sh169 billion balance would be raised through borrowing, he added.

That, the President said, would ensure the continuation and funding of key budget lines, including the hiring of 46,000 Junior Secondary School teachers on permanent and pensionable terms; recruitment of medical interns; money to buy milk from farmers at Sh50 per litre; and the retention of the fertiliser subsidy.

Others are the funding to complete stalled road projects; payment of coffee farmers’ debts; money to the proposed Coffee Cherry Fund; cash to public-owned sugar firms to pay farmers; new university funding; and arrears to counties, the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) and pension.

Dr Ruto said Attorney-General Justin Muturi has been tasked with preparing a law to effect a ban on state officers taking part in fundraisers. It would include guidelines on philanthropy.

At the same time, he announced the end of funding to the offices of the First Lady, as well as those of the spouses of the Deputy President and Prime CS.

Dr Ruto suspended the purchase of cars for government agencies, except for security agencies, for a year.