President Ruto to go after 'deep state' in major security docket changes

Deputy President William Ruto address believers at Nyayo National stadium during a prayer service.

President William Ruto.

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kenya Kwanza Alliance’s choreographed attacks on the administrators and the so-called “deep state” have brought into question the fate of the officers in Dr Ruto’s administration.
  • State officers whose jobs are not protected by the security of tenure, including Interior and Defence CSs, just like all CSs, PSs and DCI boss Kinoti, who serve at the pleasure of the President, could find their jobs on the line.
  • But Mr Odinga’s allies have warned Dr Ruto’s camp against threatening government officers, saying, they risk taking the country back to the dark days of the Kanu regime.

President William Ruto is expected to overhaul the security docket to align it to his agenda.

This could seriously affect the personalities in the ruling coalition frequently referred to as “deep state” during campaigns ahead of the August 9 General Election.

Dr Ruto made attacks on the “system” a key plank of his campaign. 

Now he is planning to restructure the security dockets, including the National Government Administration Officers (Ngao), whom he accused of campaigning for the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party candidate, Raila Odinga

At the weekend, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua hinted at key changes in the security sector.

“Give us two to three weeks for us to have a new Interior Cabinet Secretary who knows what he/she will be doing. Allow us to have an Interior Principal Secretary who has the urge of working for the people,” he said. 

Members of Ngao who campaigned for Azimio will not be victimised, he added, noting that they were just following orders.

However, they will be given new responsibilities “which will have a positive impact on Kenyans”.

“County commissioners and chiefs, even if you were used to blackmail us, do not worry. You are good people if you are used well. What we’re going to do is to deploy Ngao appropriately. We will give them new tasks on security, development, and agriculture,” Mr Gachagua said.

Choreographed attacks

Kenya Kwanza Alliance’s choreographed attacks on the administrators and the so-called “deep state” have brought into question the fate of the officers in Dr Ruto’s administration.

In Kenyan politics, the “system”, sometimes referred to as “deep state”, has come to refer to powerful bureaucrats, political operatives, and wealthy individuals bankrolling national elections.

Dr Ruto accused the shadowy group of working to stop his State House bid.

In his attacks on the “system” he often said was backed by the administration of former President Uhuru Kenyatta, Dr Ruto likened the group’s machinations to similar efforts to block his and Mr Kenyatta’s joint candidature in 2013.

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi recently told former Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Stephen Kihara, who is now in Embu, that he would have to resign under a Ruto government.

“Let us tell each other the truth, county commissioner [Mr Kihara] you participated in dividing our people here with a lot of incitements and we have forgiven you but you must resign from this government. We can’t accept what took place,” he said during the inauguration of Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii.

Although such sentiments are now being seen as personal opinions, there is general consensus that there is a need for radical surgery in Ngao, with most Ruto allies claiming the officers are idle, which gives them latitude to play politics. 

Those the Nation interviewed yesterday said the institution should be restructured to make it efficient and effective.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said the officers needed more responsibilities.

“We will want them to participate in the supervision of government projects within their areas of jurisdiction,” he said. 

“We’ll also strengthen the alternative dispute resolution mechanism to enable the chiefs to solve small cases and help in decongesting our prisons.”

During the campaigns, the Kenya Kwanza leadership was at loggerheads with the likes of Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti, Inspector-General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, and Director-General of National Intelligence Service (NIS) Philip Kameru, accusing them of taking sides. 

Murang’a Governor Irungu Kang’ata, for instance, is now saying the officers’ performance will be evaluated to “make them professional and neutral and ensure they serve the people.”

Belgut MP Nelson Koech told the Nation that the fate of those who are viewed as “deep state” lies in the hands of the President.

“It’s up to President Ruto to evaluate if [Mr Mutyambai] has lived up to the performance and the letter of the Constitution in his delivering of service.”

‘Until the end of their terms’

He added: “We would give them a lecture that we don’t need them to [help us] run politics and they should stick to what is contained in their appointment letters. We’ll allow them to serve until their terms come to an end.”

This means State officers whose jobs are not protected by the security of tenure, including Interior and Defence CSs, just like all CSs, principal secretaries, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss Kinoti, who serve at the pleasure of the President, could find their jobs on the line.

But Mr Odinga’s allies, including Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi and Saboti MP Caleb Amisi, have warned Dr Ruto’s camp against threatening government officers, saying, they risk taking the country back to the dark days of the Kanu regime.

“Kenya Kwanza should ‘go slow’. Threatening public officers demonstrates a level of impunity in their ranks,” he said. 

“What Sudi told the county commissioner clearly shows how they will behave,” Mr Amisi said.

But Mr Koech insisted that Dr Ruto’s administration will respect the Constitution and the rule of law. 

“They [administrators] should keep off politics and leave it to politicians,” he said .

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