President-elect William Ruto Wednesday outlined his plans for the new government as he also committed to herald a new style of leadership which he said will be a complete departure from his predecessor’s.
The Kenya Kwanza Alliance leader said he has set his eyes on delivering on the promises he made to the people during his campaigns, pledging to run a government free of ethnic or political favouritism following a hotly-contested August 9 polls.
Speaking to the media after a meeting with all elected leaders under the Kenya Kwanza banner at his Karen residence, the President-elect said his administration will have Cabinet secretaries answerable to Parliament as he begins the journey of leading the country.
He said he will task his team at the National Assembly to relook the House’s Standing Orders with a view of amending them to make sure CSs get to the floor of the House to be interrogated on what the government is doing.
In the old constitution when Cabinet ministers were also MPs, this used to happen on Tuesday afternoon, often leading to lively interactions between the back bench and the government.
“This will ensure that the people of Kenya, through their representatives in Parliament, can on a daily basis interrogate the government. CSs appearing before committees is not enough in running an accountable government,” said Dr Ruto.
Currently, the CSs respond to queries through committees that then submit their findings or reports to the whole House.
In May this year, the Procedure and House Rules Committee set in motion a review of the Standing Orders for effective discharge of legislative business where the suspended rule requiring CSs to appear on the floor of the House at a set time to answer questions was put forth as one of the agendas.
Further, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party leader said public service is going to be an important tool in delivery of government programmes and as such, he will ensure it will be professional and will not have preference to communities or political affiliations.
He said he will draw a clear line between provincial service and politics where political work will only be done by politicians while public servants focus on service delivery to Kenyans.
“The expectations of people are huge and we don't have time to waste. We need all hands on deck. We expect public servants to serve people equally without favouring any one. Those who were forced to take political positions to step back and be professional. This is the only way to govern,” said Dr Ruto.
“Going into the future, our government must be accountable. We will run a transparent, democratic and accountable government,” he added.
Dr Ruto committed to eliminate ethnicity from the equation of leadership and governance of the country, committing to ensure that service delivery gets to every part of the country with no part being left behind.
He said that Kenyans spoke loudly during the August 9 elections where his coalition got over 25 per cent of votes from 39 counties.
This was an increase from 25 per cent in 31 counties in 2013 and 34 counties in 2017 during the Jubilee regime, which he said now gives his camp a broader mandate in terms of service delivery.
“There will be no room for exclusion. We are going to govern in a manner that makes sure that no part, sector or community is left behind. We are going to move together as a nation and eliminate ethnicity in our governance,” he said.
No time to waste
The President-elect rallied his camp to ensure they don’t disappoint Kenyans who have bestowed on them huge leadership responsibilities.
“We don’t have the luxury of time to waste. We must roll up our sleeves and tighten our belts and begin the process of delivering on our commitments to the people of Kenya,” he said.
The UDA leader hit out at the outgoing government accusing it of entrenching dictatorship in the country through use of threats and intimidation as well as selling fear.
“You can now go back to using your normal phones without hiding on WhatsApp or Signal because the blackmail and intimidation is over. We are having our democratic country back. You can speak to whoever without fear of victimisation,” he said.
On his part, Deputy President-elect Rigathi Gachagua asked current government officials who are still in denial about their (Kenya Kwanza) victory to accept that their Azimio project has been defeated.
“There are some four characters who are still in denial that project Azimio has been defeated. So we want to tell our members to take care of themselves until freedom is confirmed,” he said.