What you need to know:
- Also, concerns over the high cost of living, costly fuel, and increased taxation have introduced new dimensions to the ruling coalition at a time when senior government officials and some policies are increasingly becoming unpopular among Kenyans.
- Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung'u is the latest to face MPs wrath after the National Assembly's Public Investments Committee on Energy and Commercial Affairs threatened to remove him from office should the ministry fail to stabilize the depreciating shilling.
Threats to impeach some Cabinet Secretaries have exposed behind-the-scenes intrigues of a vicious fight for control and political influence pitting members of the Kenya Kwanza administration.
Also, concerns over the high cost of living, costly fuel, and increased taxation have introduced new dimensions to the ruling coalition at a time when senior government officials and some policies are increasingly becoming unpopular among Kenyans.
Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung'u is the latest to face MPs wrath after the National Assembly's Public Investments Committee on Energy and Commercial Affairs threatened to remove him from office should the ministry fail to stabilize the depreciating shilling.
Other ministers are now in the crosshairs of Governors and Members of Parliament, especially from the Rift Valley, which, incidentally, is President William Ruto’s political home ground.
Meddling in politics
In a bold move indicative of political undercurrents in the government and the President's political backyard, these leaders have reportedly asked the Head of State not to intervene in their bid to hold the Cabinet Secretaries accountable, accusing some of meddling in politics.
Cabinet Secretaries Kipchumba Murkomen (Roads), Davis Chirchir (Energy), and Ababu Namwamba (Sports) have recently faced public anger and accusations.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and Emmurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno stated that they would not only criticize the ministers in public but also hold them accountable through existing parliamentary processes.
Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok has been in a public spat with CS Murkomen, accusing him of withholding funds for roads in his county and engaging in local politics.
MPs Cherargei and Ngeno, speaking directly to President Ruto during interdenominational prayers in Bomet County a week ago, asserted that their actions against the CSs were well-intentioned and would ultimately benefit him.
The situation escalated when CS Chirchir was heckled during the public function in President Ruto’s presence, highlighting the unrest among people against government technocrats perceived as out of touch with ground realities.
But President Ruto defended Chirchir, urging the public to go easy on him.
“I can see you have been very hard on Davis (Chirchir). I have heard you shout him down. I understand where you are coming from. Please, go slow on him and be patient with him. He is a very sharp man,” Dr Ruto said.
In an interview, Mr Ngeno accused some CSs of dabbling in politics.
“Some the Cabinet Secretaries have unfortunately immersed themselves in 2032 succession politics at the expense of development. Some who are drunk with power have particularly used their dockets to oversee the skewed allocation of resources in some regions in what works counter to the President’s push for equitable distribution of resources,” he said.
On Saturday, Namwamba presided over the unveiling of Kiprugut Chumo Stadium (formerly Kericho Green Stadium), a major function that was shunned by all local elected leaders.
Not even a Member of the County Assembly was in attendance.
"I can tell you for sure we have all kept off the function because of the casual manner in which the CS and his team have treated us and the event to a level where you invite elected leaders to a meeting that would happen in their backyard in the morning and failing to invite and mobilize residents to the function," a lawmaker who sought anonymity said.
Mr Namwamba was at pains to explain why all Members of Parliament and Members of the County Assembly did not attend the function, graced by select athletes and Athletics Kenya officials.
“It is not true that we did not involve the local leadership as I have been in touch with the Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot and Woman Representative Beatrice Kemei. Governor Erick Mutai has been represented by County Executive Committee Member for Sports Brian Langat,” explained Mr Namwamba.
Similar incidents have occurred with other Cabinet Secretaries, such as Murkomen being booed by residents of Baringo County on Sunday, indicating growing frustration with government policies, including increased taxation, and the perceived disconnect of some Cabinet Secretaries.
Politics over development
The leaders in Rift Valley have accused some CSs of prioritizing politics over development, contributing to skewed resource allocation and undermining the President's push for equitable distribution.
The Kingpin (succession) debate pushed by some politicians from Rift Valley has also added to the political tension in the region.
Despite the controversies, Cabinet Secretaries maintain that they are committed to implementing government programs, and some claim the criticism is politically motivated.
The rift between political leaders and Cabinet Secretaries raises concerns about the potential impact on governance and development initiatives in Kenya Kwanza strongholds.
This power struggle within the ruling administration reflects broader challenges in balancing politics and governance, with potential implications for the implementation of key government projects and programs.
The dynamic between political leaders and Cabinet Secretaries may continue to evolve, shaping the political landscape in the run-up to future elections.