From Left: Malava MP Malulu Injendi, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, Farouk Kibet, Turbo MP Janet Sitienei During a Fundraiser in Kipkaren, Uasin Gishu County on September 17, 2023
President William Ruto’s new administration is being put to the test as demands for a Cabinet reshuffle increase amid internal conflicts.
Living expenses are surging, fuel rates are climbing, taxes have hiked and the government is marred in conflicts. In addition, the President is dealing with an uneasy group of supporters and a resurgent opposition. Based on a recent survey by InfoTrak, most Kenyans (53%) fear that the country is moving in the wrong direction. Many Kenyans who initially backed President Ruto's bottom-up approach feel betrayed by the government as it becomes difficult to cover their basic necessities and public education is becoming unaffordable.
Irresponsible comments from government officials are fueling widespread dissatisfaction. President Ruto's economic advisor Dr. David Ndii recently advised that it's time to atone for the past regime's lapses and that there are no remedies for financial mismanagement, only repercussions. Dr. Ndii exhibits no sense of remorse in his use of language, claiming that public affairs must be conducted without sentiment or a need for compassion toward the populace.
Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has warned Kenyans of the possibility of fuel prices increasing by Sh10 every month for the next four months. Meanwhile, Energy CS Davis Chirchir has claimed that there is little that can be done to control the rising prices. These comments have angered Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua who has criticized officials for being insensitive and irresponsible. He believes that such remarks are demoralizing and unhelpful. However, Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna has dismissed the Deputy President's comments pointing out that Ruto's deputy has been known to show contempt for the people. Senate Majority Whip Boni Khalwale has called for the sacking of the two CSs and Dr Ndii, accusing them of putting the President in a dangerous situation by mishandling the fuel crisis.
According to an InfoTrak poll, half of President Ruto's Cabinet received a performance rating of D, averaging between 45 and 49 per cent. The worst performers included Moses Kuria, Rebecca Miano, Simon Chelugui, Njuguna Ndung'u, Florence Bore, Soipan Tuya, Aisha Jumwa, Davis Chirchir, Zachary Njeru, Prime CS Musalia Mudavadi, and Attorney-General Justin Muturi. InfoTrak CEO Angela Ambitho explains that Kenyans are not aware of some of the CS's accomplishments, contributing to the poor rating.
The Federation of Kenya Employers is threatening to lay off workers due to expected production cost increases and matatu fare hikes which will hurt President Ruto's core support base. Medics are also threatening to strike due to poor working conditions and unemployment. Water CS Alice Wahome is embroiled in a leadership battle with her principal secretary Dr. Kipronoh Ronoh over the Athi Water Works Development Agency, further complicating President Ruto's administration.