Ruto bigwigs bank on CAS, ambassadorial positions

Ruto loyalists

From left: Former Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok, President William Ruto, former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama and CS nominee Eliud Owalo during a past meeting in Nairobi.

Photo credit: PSCU

They are trusted, loyal, determined and also worked extra hard for Kenya Kwanza’s Dr William Ruto to outfox Azimio la Umoja One Kenya’s Raila Odinga and win the presidency.

President Ruto has rewarded individuals who contributed to his win, but a few lieutenants are counting on being selected for chief administrative secretary (CAS) and ambassadorial positions after missing out on Cabinet roles and shortlisting for principal secretary jobs, for which interviews began yesterday.

They include United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairman Johnson Muthama, who is the face of the ruling party. Mr Muthama was Dr Ruto’s key point man in the Ukambani region.

Others are Prof David Ndii, the head of President Ruto’s economic advisory team, former Turkana governor Josphat Nanok, former Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, former Soy MP Caleb Kositany, former Migori governor Okoth Obado, and former Kakamega senator Cleophas Malala.

Also optimistic that they will not be left out are former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, former Laikipia woman representative Cate Waruguru, former Mombasa senator Omar Hassan, former Kajiado South MP Katoo Ole Metito, former Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and former Nairobi woman representative Millicent Omanga.

Mr Nanok, who was the director-general of the Kenya Kwanza presidential campaign team, was a key figure in Dr Ruto’s secretariat and a common face at the Bomas of Kenya as one of the chief agents for the coalition.

During campaigns, Mr Nanok was mandated to chair and coordinate the activities of affiliate parties to ensure synergy and coherence.

The source added that former Kirinyaga woman representative Purity Ngirici is likely to land a CAS post and that is why she withdrew her petition against Governor Anne Waiguru’s victory.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has hinted that "Johnnies-come-lately" in the Kenya Kwanza administration will be rewarded after the coalition's founders get their share of the cake.

Mr Gachagua suggested that the positions are given out based on one’s contribution to Kenya Kwanza’s victory in the August 9 elections.

DP Gachagua said latecomers who contributed nothing to their election victory would not be given special treatment before founding members of the coalition.

“Yes, you should know that you are reaping what you sow, didn't he help us? Now he (Mr Wetang’ula) has got the Speaker’s position. Others want to reap where they did not sow, those who sowed should reap first. When we are done with all those who sowed, those who didn't should take what is left and then we move forward,” he said.

In an interview, Mr Muthama said the limited space in the Executive could not accommodate everyone who played a key role in Dr Ruto’s victory.

"We are 50 million Kenyans. Putting into consideration who voted for the UDA is 50 plus 1 per cent. So 49 per cent assume they did not vote for UDA,” he said.

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko joins Hassan Omar during a meeting with the Kamba Community living in Mombasa in this photo taken on August 25, 2022. 

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

“So that means … everybody who went to vote for UDA will qualify to have very serious positions. That means we will need to have 25 million positions."

He added: "Of that matter, if you take the number that voted for UDA of about 7.2 million people, you need that number of CSs. There are those who work for others to benefit.

“There are those who love this country so much that they cannot consider the contribution they make should be paid or be compensated. I am one of those who work and make others live well."

But Mr Muthama has expressed optimism that he will land a key position in Dr Ruto’s government.

"I am getting something very soon. I am getting something that will make me in a position to play football as a distributor. As player number six," he said.

The position of CAS, which was introduced by former President Uhuru Kenyatta four years ago, was previously filled with election losers and establishment allies.

Meanwhile, to gain more wiggle room in appointments, Dr Ruto is likely to bring back the CAS position after the Public Service Commission concluded public participation last week.

Unlike in the Kenyatta administration, when CAS nominees were never subjected to competitive recruitment, the candidates will this time face interviewers.

President Ruto is described by his allies as a leader who does not forget his helpers and everyone feels safe working with him.

According to Belgut MP Nelson Koech, a key ally of President Ruto, the UDA boss is a trustworthy and reliable person who disappointed his political enemies who had accused him of not keeping his words.

“President Ruto is known to go beyond the norm to keep his word to himself and others because he is not the kind of man who can say or you can tell that it cannot be done or he cannot do it,” he said.

“Time and again, President Ruto has proven many of those who said it cannot be done or he cannot make it grossly wrong.”

It is not clear how President Ruto will balance the interests of his allies from Kakamega County, as Mr Washiali, Mr Echesa and Mr Malala all come from that county.

Mr Echesa yesterday told the Nation that it has never been about positions but they supported the head of state to send home “dynasties” while noting that President Ruto knows the people who worked with him through the roles they played.

“What we wanted is to show the world that even hustlers can be elected President. I wanted freedom and that is what I have gotten,” he said.

“Now I can do business because a lot of freedom is what is important. However, whatever President Ruto gives me is okay. I cannot dictate, he knows us all and understands our capability.”

Mr Washiali, who was among the key point men of Dr Ruto in the vote-rich Western region, decided not to defend his seat, saying he wanted to focus on Dr Ruto’s State House bid.

“I will not be vying as a member of Parliament Mumias East. I will dedicate all my energy and resources to the UDA party and the election of the 5th President William Samoei Ruto,” he said in January.

Those who miss out on CAS or ambassadorial positions will have to wait for parastatal jobs or look for tenders in the government.