Technocrat CSs did not understand people, ours do - Rigathi

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has defended the decision to appoint politicians in the cabinet saying they fathom people's needs than technocrats.

In President William Ruto's 22-member cabinet, which was released last week, is full of seasoned politicians unlike the previous administration. The country's second in command in an interview with Citizen TV on Sunday disclosed they opted for politicians because they wanted individuals who gel well with Kenyans.

While describing the country's state of economy as dilapidated, Mr Gachagua blamed the current crisis on cabinet secretaries who do not understand problems affecting different parts of the country. 

“I am excited about the cabinet. We have got people who understand the public. We got to the crisis we are in because the CSs then did not understand the people, they had no regard, never listened and never cared what the people were saying,” said Mr Gachagua.

He went ahead: “That is why competency based curriculum (CBC) was implemented without public participation and that is why we have established a taskforce to listen to the people. If we had a cabinet secretary who listens to the people, we would not be where we are.”

With former President Uhuru Kenyatta having largely technocrats in his Cabinet for 10 years, which ostensibly led to him being a lame duck in his political bastion of Mount Kenya, Dr Ruto has decided to have seasoned politicians in his administration, presumably so as not to lose his political ground.

Some politicians nominated to cabinet positions are considered to be resonating well with the electorates.

Unlike his predecessor, Mr Kenyatta, who presented to Kenyans in 2013 individuals who were not known in public except for Najib Balala and Charity Ngilu, Dr Ruto’s case is a bit different since his Cabinet is 50 percent politicians.

On CS nominees with integrity issues, Gachagua said those with active cases in court cannot be denied an opportunity to serve Kenyans based on cases which have not been determined adding they will only be let go if found guilty.

Citing his own case, the country's second in command insisted that some of the cases were used as political tools to coerce them take certain stand.

“All those issues have been discussed. When I was being nominated as running mate, I had an active case in Court but everybody knows that these charges are fabricated. They were weaponised interventions against people who took a certain position in politics. We cannot agree to disqualify people who have not been proven guilty. The constitution is clear, presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Let the press and analysts not convict people. That work is for the Court after adducing credible, irrefutable evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt,” he explained.

This comes after it emerged that the Raila Odinga-led coalition on Friday said it has advised its MPs to reject the nomination of the CSs facing criminal charges when their names are tabled in Parliament for vetting.

Some of those Cabinet nominees targeted by Azimio are Public Service nominee Aisha Jumwa and her Agriculture counterpart Mithika Linturi.

Ms Jumwa is currently facing a murder trial over the death of ODM supporter Jola Gumbao. The former Malindi MP also has an ongoing Sh19 million graft case. Mr Gumbao was shot dead on October 15, 2019, after chaos broke out at the home of Mr Reuben Katana, who was an ODM candidate in the Ganda ward by-election in Kilifi County.

Mr Linturi on the other hand, was in September last year charged in court over attempted rape in a hotel in Nanyuki, accusations he has denied, terming them as politically instigated.

The former Meru senator is said to have on January 2021, attempted to intentionally and unlawfully rape a 36-year-old woman at Maiyan Villa’s hotel in Nanyuki.