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Camps emerge in Ruto’s cabinet – Weekly Citizen

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Cracks have emerged in president William Ruto’s cabinet over the rise of super cabinet secretaries whom the head of state is giving preferential treatment on national matters.

The five were members of the so-called the “Sky Team” during the early days of president Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime.

The four cabinet secretaries being accused by their colleagues of using their closeness to the president to dictate government business are Roads, Transport and Public Works CS Kipchumba Murkomen, ministry of Interior and National Administration CS Kithure Kindiki, Energy and Petroleum head Davis Chirchir, Cooperative and SMEs CS Simon Chelugui and Defence’s Aden Duale.

Murkomen

Their disgruntled colleagues are lamenting that the four are so powerful that they do not need to book appointment to see Ruto at State House or Harambee House like others do.

Word doing rounds in the corridors of power is that some of the CSs are going through the four to book appointments to meet the head of state at State House.

The four CSs have also been given more security than their counterparts with chase cars.

During cabinet meetings, the president is said to give much attention to their contributions even in matters that are not in their docket.

Coupled with this is that the four CSs have wide portfolios, and are thus controlling billions of shillings in their dockets.

The four are also said to have had a hand in the nomination of their principal secretaries for their respective ministries while in contrast, other CSs did not have any leeway in the selection of their PSs which smacks off anxiety.

Some of the CSs are murmuring that Ruto picked his Kalenjin kinsmen as PSs in their dockets to spy on them, and also give tenders to individuals close to him, his family and the four super ministers.

The five CSs being referred to by their colleagues as super ministers have no time for deputy president Rigathi Gachagua.

Gachagua

To them, they are brains behind the throne with other ministers despised as Jonnie come latelies.

The deputy president cannot dare summon them to his office even when he is acting as president when Ruto is out of the country.

Though the five super ministers have respect for prime cabinet secretary Musalia Mudavadi, the latter, just like Gachagua, cannot command them to do anything as they are more powerful than him.

Mudavadi

Of the five super ministers, Murkomen is said to be the most powerful and the linkman between Ruto and elite from the Kalenjin community.

He is also involved in engaging foreign investors. Besides heading Transport and Public Works, the former ElgeyoMarakwet senator is also Ruto’s most trusted Kalenjin leader.

Due to his support for Ruto, Murkomen lost his senate majority leader position which Uhuru dished out to former West Pokot senator Samuel Poghisio, a close ally of Ruto’s main rival in Kalenjin politics, former Baringo senator Gideon Moi.

Moi

For Kindiki, he has been close to Ruto for years and was among lawyers who represented Ruto at the International Criminal Court where he faced charges of crimes against humanity.

Like Murkomen, the former Tharaka Nithi senator also lost his position as senate deputy speaker in 2021 for standing out with Ruto.

It is the same case with Chirchir, who was sacked by Uhuru as ICT cabinet secretary in 2015 in what he termed as politically instigated graft charges preferred against him for supporting the then deputy president Ruto.

Chirchir was also Ruto’s presidential agent at Bomas of Kenya during the 2022 general election.

For Chelugui, he is the man Ruto has been using to cut Gideon to size.

In the 2017 elections, the Jubilee-Kanu supremacy battle for control of the Rift Valley vote went a notch higher after Ruto urged Chelugui to drop his gubernatorial bid and instead vie for the senate to unseat Gideon.

Insiders revealed that another set of cabinet secretaries who are among the founders of the United Democratic Alliance are also getting preferential treatment though at a lower scale as compared to the five super ministers.

They include Alice Wahome (Water, Sanitation and Irrigation), Aisha Jumwa (Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Action), Moses Kuria (Trade, Investment and Industry) who was in Ruto’s inner core before launching Chama Cha Kazi party, Agriculture and Livestock Development’s CS Mithika Linturi, Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Salim Mvurya and Attorney General Justin Muturi.

jumwa

The CSs downrated in power hierachy include National Treasury’s Njuguna Ndung’u, Foreign and Diaspora Affairs’ Alfred Mutua, East Africa Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development’s Rebecca Miano, Lands, Housing and Urban Development CS Zachariah Njeru, Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage CS Peninah Malonza, Health’s Susan Wafula, Information, Communication and Digital Economy CS Eliud Owalo, Education’s Ezekiel Machogu, Youth Affairs Sports and Arts CS Ababu Namwamba and Labour and Social Protection’s Florence Bore.

Owalo

Some of the five powerful CSs were part of the amorphous grouping that comprised Ruto’s key backers which former Bomet governor Isaac Rutto christened as the Sky Team because of their fondness for using choppers to travel up and down the country.

The Sky Team members were mainly drawn from Ruto’s defunct United Republican Party and included the then national assembly majority leader Duale who represented Garissa Township constituency and Kindiki.

Others were the then Kericho senator Charles Keter who later resigned his senatorial seat to be appointed to the cabinet and Murkomen, who then served as ElgeyoMarakwet senator.

Others were the then Igembe South lawmaker and now Agriculture and Livestock cabinet secretary Linturi and former speaker Muturi.

Muturi

At the time, the Sky Team was so powerful that even legislators from former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Party that with URP formed Jubilee handled them with a lot of care since they were Ruto kitchen cabinet and what they told the then deputy president was taken as political gospel truth.

The Sky Team even forced Uhuru to make appointments in their favour using Ruto and were also instrumental in having URP join TNA to form Jubilee ahead of the 2017 general election.

Many say that the five super ministers pushed for Kindiki to be Ruto running mate but lost due to the Kikuyu factor in Uhuru succession gameplan.

It is said that they may back Kindiki to succeed Ruto and that is why they managed to have him appointed in the security docket to establish political networks using his ministry for future presidential ambitions.

Kindiki

In Uhuru’s first term, the Sky Team also backed Linturi in trying to impeach the then Devolution cabinet secretary, Anne Waiguru, for not giving them tenders at the National Youth Service.

The Sky Team members were also linked to brokering multibillion government tenders to Chinese firms at a fee.

There were claims the team was threatening local and foreign investors to pay millions of shillings in dollars to win political protection or else they lose out in the tendering process.

The team also did not spare parastatal bosses, cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries who were manipulated to award tenders to favoured local and foreign firms in the name of raising money for 2017 presidential race.

The members of Sky Team who were well facilitated by Ruto crisscrossed Rift Valley and Mt Kenya to campaign.

But after the 2017 general election, the Sky Team died a natural death as Uhuru started crafting his succession by bringing on board Raila Odinga.



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