KENYA: Ruto Demands Written Explanations from Tardy Ministers in Crackdown


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Top government officials who arrived late to a performance contract signing event at State House in Nairobi on August 1, have been required by President William Ruto to provide a written explanation.

An outraged Ruto stated he would not accept what he called top government officials’ old-fashioned, incompetent justifications for arriving late to formal events and blaming it on traffic jams.

“If you cannot keep time with your employer, then you have just dismissed yourself,” he said after locking out late officials from entering the venue.

The senior officials that turned up late included Security Minister Kithure Kindiki and his trade counterpart Moses Kuria, who were locked out for turning up late for the function that was to begin at 8 a.m.

“I will be expecting a written apology, and it should not contain matters of traffic,” Ruto told the absent officials.

The President added that he is worried that a number of his ministers and principal secretaries are not informed of developments within their departments and are not communicating government policies to the general public.

“How do you run a ministry without information? That is the highest level of incompetence,” he said.

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Communication Director Philip Etale criticised Security Minister Kindiki for wasting time, yet when it comes to dealing with protesters, police deployment is done early in the morning.

Ruto’s ministers have been on the spot, clashing with each other in public. In November 2022, Trade Minister Kuria announced plans for the government to import maize, but his agriculture counterpart Mithika Linturi came out to refute the plan, saying Kenya did not have a maize deficit. In May, Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Mutua said Kenya had reached an agreement with Canada for massive employment opportunities for Kenyans, a statement the Canadian authorities denounced.

“Ruto must regret rewarding his political allies instead of settling on technocrats,” Kevin Ochol, a Nairobi-based political analyst said.

With political talks between the opposition and government expected to start soon, Ruto might shake his cabinet and appoint technocrats from the opposition side to help him run the government, says Ochol. “Ruto is realising he will be judged harshly by the electorate in 2027 if he fails to deliver,” he adds.

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