Ruto ministers
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President Ruto Cabinet scorecard: The good, the poor and the weak

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From left: Cabinet Secretaries Susan Nakhumicha (Health), Salim Mvurya (Mining and Blue Economy), Mithika Linturi (Agriculture) Njuguna Ndung'u (Treasury), Moses Kuria (public service), Peninah Malonza (Tourism), Eliud Owalo (ICT), Zachariah Mwangi(Lands), Ababu Namwamba (Sports) and Kithure Kindiki (Interior).

Photo credit: Nation Media Group

The latest Tifa Research poll returned a damning verdict on the performance of President William Ruto’s Cabinet. The survey rated only five ministers out of 22 with an approval of 50 per cent and above.

The five are Interior CS Kithure Kindiki, Musalia Mudavadi (Prime Cabinet Secretary and Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Secretary), Ababu Namwamba (Sports), Eliud Owalo (ICT) and Adan Duale (Defence).The lowest performers in the Cabinet were Mithika Linturi (Agriculture), Mr Zachariah Njeru, Ms Rebecca Miano, Florence Bore (Labour) and Davis Chirchir (Energy) with a rating of 33 per cent and below.

Worryingly, a whopping 15 CSs, more than two thirds of the Cabinet, receiving a rating of D and below.

The survey looked at whether the ministers are known by Kenyans, are using public resources without corruption, how actively they are communicating ministry’s activities and whether they are doing things that make life better for Kenyans in terms of their performance.

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The poll, conducted between April 27 and 29, comes at a time when the country is grappling with doctors’ strike, substandard fertiliser scandal, almost daily road carnage, and the ongoing heavy rains and floods in many parts of the country that have resulted in at least 170 deaths. Linturi is facing an impeachment trial over the substandard fertiliser debacle with Health CS Susan Nakhumicha also not sitting pretty.

Ministers Moses Kuria, PCS Mudavadi and Prof Kindiki have also had issues with senators over constantly snubbing appearances to answer questions regarding their ministries. On Thursday night, Kenya was plunged into another nationwide darkness following a power outage that took hours to resolve. The country has had four major countrywide power outages since Mr Chirchir came into office shining the spotlight on the CS’s performance at the critical ministry. On December 10 last year, the country was plunged into nationwide darkness but the worst one was on August 25, 2023, a historic blackout.

“Significantly, it is the CS for Health who attracts more blame than any other official or entity for the medical workers’ industrial action, even though (as she and others have said) it is the “lack of sufficient funds in Treasury” that has supposedly made it impossible for most of the medics’ demands to be met,” said Dr Tom Wolf, Tifa lead researcher.

In March, President Ruto faced mounting pressure for him to crack the whip on some of his top government officers, amid growing crises within his administration. Coming just over a month after reading the riot act to his CSs and PSs in Naivasha in February, the President has found his government embroiled in one crisis after another. A look into the performance and visibility of some of the worst performing ministers leading up to March has left a lot to be desired.

The President, speaking during a Cabinet retreat at Lake Naivasha Resort, wanted his top officials to enhance visibility.

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But Mr Njeru, apart from tours, courtesy calls and presiding over conferences, his ministry continues to suffer visibility. Although much improved than when he was at the helm of the Land’s docket, Mr Njeru is yet to show what Sh80 billion allocation to his ministry in the current fiscal year has been channelled to.

The ministry is tasked with the realisation of access to safe water and sanitation services and improvement of food security in the country. The ministry recently announced the signing of the financing agreement and commencing implementation of the Kenya Water Sanitation and Hygiene (K-WASH) programme with Sh35 billion by the World Bank.

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There was also the Angololo multi-purpose water project between Kenya and Uganda under the Nile Basin Initiative governance and development partners. “When completed, the project will have a significant impact on the communities within the project area, in terms of enhanced agriculture through irrigation, water supply, hydro power among other benefits,” said Mr Njeru.

Recently, he also announced the completion of a 500-acre irrigation project in Nyeri to serve over 1,600 households within the county.

 Despite acknowledging that the government is committed to ensuring key irrigation projects are completed in time in order to increase food production in the country, most similar projects remain in limbo. It is not lost on the public how Mr Njeru pledged to streamline things at the Lands ministry, only to leave with an underwhelming record.