Ruto to meet Kenya Kwanza leaders ahead of naming cabinet

President William Ruto during the inaugural meeting with Kenya Kwanza leaders.

President William Ruto during the inaugural meeting with Kenya Kwanza leaders at his official residence in Karen on August 17, 2022. He is set to meet with the leaders again in Naivasha to outline his legislative agenda.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Agenda will include a plan to reverse the high cost of living worsened by an increase in fuel and power prices.
  • Leaders also expected that they will discuss the House leadership.
  • Sources in President Ruto’s camp have confided in the Nation that he is likely to unveil his Cabinet immediately after the retreat.

President William Ruto will this afternoon meet with his Kenya Kwanza elected leaders in Naivasha to outline his legislative agenda, including the plan to reverse the high cost of living worsened by an increase in fuel and power prices, as well as rally them to speedily approve his Cabinet secretary nominees.

Leaders who spoke to the Nation yesterday disclosed that at the meeting today and tomorrow, Dr Ruto will use the opportunity to rally his team to expedite his agenda in both the Senate and the National Assembly.

Dr Ruto is eyeing key House committees to be controlled by MPs from his camp except for the Public Accounts Committee, the Public Investments Committee and the Committee on Implementation, which are reserved for the coalition that has not formed government. 

In a text message sent to Kenya Kwanza leaders and seen by the Nation, the MPs are required to arrive in Naivasha before lunchtime.

House leadership

It is also expected that they will discuss the House leadership.

The retreat will also discuss the unveiling of the Cabinet members and how the MPs will be required to accelerate their vetting to allow the President to roll out his bottom-up economic agenda.

Sources in President Ruto’s camp have confided in the Nation that he is likely to unveil his Cabinet immediately after the retreat.

“We will have the retreat to galvanise our leadership strategy, which we will apply in this administration,” said United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairman Johnson Muthama.

Nominated MP Joseph Wainaina added: “The retreat is with the boss (President) and we will be discussing how to push the agenda because Kenyans have a lot of hopes in us. We have to deliver.”

Another agenda during the retreat is to discuss how best Dr Ruto and Parliament can reach a formula to lower the high cost of fuel after suspending subsidies.

“The fuel prices will come down and we will discuss that in our retreat. What has been announced is something he had been planning before Kenya Kwanza came to power. Let Kenyans give the government a little time and it will be solved,” said Mr Wainaina.

In the latest monthly review by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, the price of super petrol has gone up by Sh20.18 to retail at Sh179.30 per litre in Nairobi. Diesel is up by Sh25 to retail at Sh165.00 per litre, while Kerosene is up by Sh20 to retail at Sh147.94 per litre.

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya said they will put their house in order to have ease of delivering on their campaign promises.

“Venue is yet to be disclosed. Agenda is basically agreeing on House leadership, committees and legislative agenda to enhance the life of Kenyans and structuring the legislative agenda on the bottom-up economic model,” he said.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa added: “We’re going to retreat for the sake of having people who will be Majority leaders in both Houses and who will be in the committees; we are a team managed through consultation.”

Majority leader

With Garissa Township MP Aden Duale set to join the Executive, the majority leader in the National Assembly is set to be taken over by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah.

Those who spoke to the Nation disclosed that Mr Ichung’wah has intensified lobbying among the MPs so that he becomes their leader tasked with the role of government business in the House.

“As of now, what I know is that Kimani Ichung’wah is going to be the Leader of Majority,” said Baringo Woman Representative Florence Jematiah.

Before the Jubilee purge in the 12th Parliament, Mr Ichung'wah chaired the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the National Assembly, a powerful entity that bears great influence in national budget-making and how public finances are expended.

The 51-member committee whose chairperson must come from the ruling coalition is the Parliament’s central role in budget-making.

It is mandated to oversee the budget decision-making process from formulation and approval to implementation and power to investigate, inquire into and report on all matters related to coordination, control and monitoring of the national budget, therefore the chairperson of such committee has to be one who is ready to focus on government agenda.

Despite the Azimio coalition being the majority coalition in the National Assembly according to Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu, it will not produce the leader of the majority and majority whip because of defections that happened after the elections.

Housing, health agendas

Emgwen MP Josses Lelmengit yesterday maintained that Dr Ruto will use the retreat to underscore the need of the Kenya Kwanza MPs to help his administration push an agenda which affects Kenyans directly.

At the top of his agenda are the housing project and National Hospital Insurance Funds (NHIF).

Dr Ruto promised during campaigns that no Kenyan will be paying hospital bills since all will be insured and now, he wants his MPs to come up with legislation on the same as soon as possible.

“He (Dr Ruto) is keen on housing projects that he wants us to push for him through legislation. Secondly, NHIF will be the first business,” said Mr Lelmengit.

During his inauguration on Tuesday, Dr Ruto announced that contributions to the NHIF will now be restructured to reflect the income of individual contributors.

“Contributions to NHIF will now be graduated and will depend on people’s income,” the new head of state announced.

To deal with the huge challenge of youth unemployment, the President said his administration will roll out a social and affordable low-cost housing programme, targeting an average of 250,000 units a year.

Most of President Ruto’s agenda requires speedy legislation and that is why he is out to keep his MPs on toes after raiding Mr Odinga’s camp to give him control of both Houses.