Ruto allies hang on to hope of clinching top state jobs

Ruto allies

President William Ruto's allies from top left: Hassan Omar, Johnson Muthama, Caleb Kositany and Isaac Ruto. Bottom from left: Okoth Obado, Chris Wamalwa, Rashid Echesa and Cleophas Malala.

Photo credit: | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Behind the scenes, the men and women, mostly politicians, have put up intense lobbying for state jobs in their bid to have something to hold onto ahead of the 2027 elections.
  • And, this week, the President instilled hope in them, even those he held did not support his candidature, saying, his administration will have space for all.

They sold the slogan, “every hustle matters” during campaigns leading to the August 9 elections, and now have to contend with their current situation in pursuit of the available government jobs.

After failing to make it to President William Ruto’s Cabinet and the majority missing out on the shortlist for Permanent Secretary (PS) posts, dozens of the Head of State’s lieutenants are still cooling their heels at home.

Behind the scenes, the men and women, mostly politicians, have put up intense lobbying for state jobs in their bid to have something to hold onto ahead of the 2027 elections.

And, this week, the President instilled hope in them, even those he held did not support his candidature, saying, his administration will have space for all. President Ruto assured that his administration will be open for all Kenyans and that he will embrace and work with all leaders.

“The government that we have formed is for Kenyans and nobody will be discriminated. So we shall unite and involve everyone,” the President said last week.

“My Cabinet ministers will serve all Kenyans equally because we want to grow this nation together,” he added.

Lobbying for jobs

As the President continues to craft his government, at least 20 people are eyeing state positions such as PS, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), parastatal and ambassadorial jobs.

Others who in one way or another other worked behind the scenes to contribute to the President’s victory are also hoping for a reward. They include people who served in key organisations that were crucial to the success of President Ruto.

Among President Ruto’s allies who are still looking for opportunities in his administration are United Democratic Alliance (UDA) national chairman Johnson Muthama, former Migori Governor Okoth Obado and his Bomet counterpart Isaac Ruto, ex-cabinet secretaries Rashid Echesa and Charles Keter, Mombasa, Kakamega and Trans Nzoia gubernatorial losers Hassan Omar, Cleophas Malala and Chris Wamalwa and ex legislators Caleb Kositany, Isaac Mwaura, Ben Washiali, Margaret Wanjiru, David Sankok and Cate Waruguru.

Isaac Ruto ccm

Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party leader and former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Last week, ex-governor Ruto, the Chama Cha Mashinani boss, was among three party leaders who inked a post-election agreement to join Kenya Kwanza. Others are National Agenda Party, Democratic Party and Grand Dream Development Party.

William Ruto

DP William Ruto (centre) chats with former Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke when he hosted leaders from Kitui County at his Karen residence. 

Photo credit: DPPS

Also in the list is former Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke who was also instrumental in the President’s campaigns in Lower Eastern, Mr Dennis Itumbi, Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi and self-proclaimed “General” Miguna Miguna who returned to the Country last Week after forced exile in Canada.

Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi

Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

There is also that team of leaders who joined the President’s camp pursuant to post election deals including former Meru, Kisii and Kisumu governors Kiraitu Murungi, James Ongwae and Jack Ranguma, former Kisumu senator Fred Outa as well as ex Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero who has also hinted at working with Dr Ruto.

'Sterling roles'

The President is also keen on rewarding former state officers he argues “performed a sterling role” in the recent election and transition.

The Head of State is on record praising Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati, CEO Hussein Marjan and Commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye for “resisting blackmail to subvert the will of the people.”

Already, Mr Molu and Mr Chebukati’s wife Mary have been shortlisted for the PS positions with President Ruto on Sunday declaring vacancies at IEBC.

Mr Chebukati and commissioners Molu and Guliye are set to retire on January 17, having served a non-renewable term of six years at the electoral agency.

Even though the cabinet positions have been exhausted, political analysts say any state role still remains vital for politicians and has the capacity to keep them afloat until the coming election.

“There is a very high probability that President Ruto will nominate politicians to the role of CAS and retain technocrats to the role of principal secretaries.”

“Politicians will fit the CAS role perfectly. Essentially, a CAS is a liaison to other politicians serving in the National Assembly and Senate,” argues Mr Dismas Mokua, a political analyst.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has concluded interviewing the 585 candidates shortlisted for the available 49 PS positions. At least 1,245 individuals – mostly politicians and election losers – had by Friday applied for the CAS jobs, whose legality is the subject of a court case filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).

LSK says there is lack of clarity on the intended office of the CAS and that the public has never had an opportunity to know the clear roles between the PSs and CASs.

“Unless the court orders are vacated, both the government and the public should refrain from participating in any actions in breach of the court order,” insists LSK President Eric Theuri.

Should the courts rule in LSK’s favour, President Ruto could be in serious dilemma in rewarding his loyal troops. Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot also maintains that the CAS position remains “unconstitutional and burdensome to taxpayers.”

Mr Mokua holds that nothing stops President Ruto from nominating politicians to the role of PS provided they have capacity and competence and have satisfied PSC requirements.

He however, cautions that; “such politicians taking the role of PS must give active politics a wide berth because they will be expected to hit the high notes in their State Departments.”

Active participation in political affairs, he holds, may compromise their capacity to deliver.

He, however, argues that non-Cabinet positions such as parastatal and ambassadorial posts are still valuable to politicians who did not make it to the President’s executive team.

“Most politicians crave for power, authority, influence and relevance. Non-Cabinet positions offer power, authority, influence and relevance,” he says.

Former advisor to ex-President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Mutahi Ngunyi, says the President is moving too fast for Kenya’s political diagnosis and “will run the government using technocrats.”

But any decision to involve technocrats at the expense of the political class could only deal a major blow to the political losers in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.