July 20, 2024

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Kenya: Cabinet Ministers Who Failed Kenya’s William Ruto

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President William Ruto’s administration is reeling under the weight of inefficiencies, scandals, and wastage involving key Cabinet members, prompting a public outcry for accountability and reforms. Here’s a closer look at the controversies engulfing Ruto’s Cabinet:

Susan Nakumicha- Health Sector Mismanagement

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha Wafula has faced severe criticism for her handling of a recent doctors’ strike. The strike, which lasted over a month, was called to protest poor working conditions, delayed salaries, and inadequate healthcare facilities. Ms Nakhumicha’s response, deemed inadequate by many, failed to address the core issues, leaving the healthcare system strained and patients without critical services.

Ezekiel Machogu -Allegations of Nepotism in Education

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu is under fire for alleged nepotism and favoritism in teacher hiring, particularly in his home region. These accusations sparked a backlash, with calls for a merit-based approach to ensure equity in employment across the country. He was accused of dishing out employment letters in Kisii during public rallies.

Moses Kuria -Ethical Questions

Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria came under scrutiny for allegations of unethical business dealings during his tenure in the trade docket. Mr Kuria is alleged to have used his position to benefit private companies in which he holds significant interests, raising concerns about conflicts of interest and potential abuse of power. These allegations sparked calls for greater transparency in the operations of the Kenya National Trading Corporation, which was under the Ministry of Trade at the time. The severity of these accusations led to Kuria being barred from representing the country in key bilateral meetings, significantly limiting his ability to represent Kenya on the global stage. He was subsequently demoted to a less lucrative portfolio.

Kipchumba Murkomen -Opulence and underperformance in Transport

Transport Cabinet Secretary, Kipchumba Murkomen, has come under fire for his extravagant lifestyle and lavish spending on luxurious items.

This ostentatious display of wealth has raised eyebrows, particularly in a country where many citizens struggle with poverty and economic hardship.

Critics argue that Mr Murkomen’s lifestyle is inconsistent with his public service role and have called for an investigation into the sources of his wealth.

His boss, President Ruto said recently that he was also concerned by the display of opulence by his ministers and that he has at one point called and had a conversation with them over the same.

In addition to his lavish lifestyle, Mr Murkomen is also facing criticism for his handling of key transport issues. The country recently saw a surge in road accidents, which many attributed to poor infrastructure and lax enforcement of traffic regulations under Mr Murkomen’s tenure.

Moreover, the power blackouts at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) have added to the controversies surrounding Mr Murkomen. The blackouts caused significant disruptions, affecting thousands of passengers and raising questions about the reliability of the airport’s infrastructure. Critics have pointed to Mr Murkomen’s failure to address these issues as indicative of broader mismanagement within the Ministry of Transport.

Mithika Linturi -Fertiliser Scandal Involving

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi is embroiled in a scandal over the distribution of counterfeit fertilizer under a subsidy program. Initially dismissing the reports as media fabrications, Linturi’s stance clashed with President Ruto’s warnings against fraudulent suppliers, revealing a lack of coherence on a critical issue for food security. The temporary halt of fertilizer distribution by Agriculture Principal Secretary Paul Ronoh further complicated the situation.

Alice Wahome’s Controversial Tenure

Alice Wahome, now the Lands Cabinet Secretary, previously faced controversy in the Ministry of Water. She was accused of protecting a CEO at Athi Water Services Board from corruption allegations, leading to a standoff with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and her Principal Secretary. The dispute centered on irregularities in awarding contracts for major water projects, undermining the government’s anti-corruption stance.

Ms Wahome had previously resisted calls from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and her Principal Secretary, Kipronoh Ronoh, to dismiss Eng Thuita.

The infighting at Maji House, where the Ministry of Water and Irrigation is housed, took an intriguing twist as Principal Secretary Ronoh appeared to gain an upper hand, bolstered by the support from the office of the President, which eventually saw her succumb to the pressure.

Presidential Response and Public Reaction

President Ruto has vowed to take decisive action against any cabinet member found guilty of misconduct, emphasizing his commitment to fighting corruption and upholding governance standards. “No one is above the law,” Ruto stated. “We will not tolerate any form of corruption or abuse of power within our government.”

The public reaction has been swift and intense, with citizens taking to social media and the streets to demand accountability. Protests have erupted across several cities, calling for the resignation of implicated officials and thorough investigations into the allegations.

Looking Ahead

As investigations continue, the pressure on President Ruto’s administration intensifies. The outcome of his actions will be crucial in determining the future of his cabinet and the credibility of his government as Kenyans watch closely for a resolution that upholds justice and restores faith in their leaders.

President Ruto, who came into office with promises to fight corruption and improve governance, now faces a critical test of his leadership and commitment to transparency and accountability.

By  Business Day Africa.

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