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President Kenyatta tried to break with tradition in 2013

When President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, were declared winners of the 2013 election, all eyes were on the names that would form the Jubilee coalition’s first Cabinet.

The expectations were high as the two had promised a new beginning in the way the country would be run, with priority only given to qualified individuals able to implement the Jubilee manifesto.

Cronies and foot soldiers were not to be carried along.

The nominees were to be technocrats, not politicians, a stark departure from earlier practice where politicians dominated such appointments.

In fact, the two said they would be the only politicians in the Cabinet.

However, there were three politicians when they eventually unveiled their team.


To whet citizens’ appetite even further, the two called for applications to the positions and those shortlisted were subjected to interviews where Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto took a leading role in picking the “chosen few” from the dozens of applications made.

“I can tell you today that there will only be two politicians in the Cabinet, the President and I, the rest will be managers able to implement our government’s programmes,” the Deputy President said in April 2013.

Sure, the first nominees unveiled on April 23, 2013, were all from the corporate world and not even one was from the political arena. Indeed, this was a break with tradition.

But later the 2013 18-member Cabinet list would include three politicians: Najib Balala, Charity Ngilu and Kazungu Kambi, which later increased to five in November 2015 after the President replaced five Cabinet secretaries over corruption claims.

The presence of the politicians was, however, defended by the President who said that they had agreed to resign from all political positions and henceforth not involve themselves in politics.

Fast forward to 2018.

Friday, Mr Kenyatta was alone when he named those who would be retained in his Cabinet.

Essentially, those who were not on the list are headed home.

And just like in 2013, Opposition MPs have said they will boycott the vetting, saying they were opposed to the naming of a partial Cabinet.

This year, the Nasa MPs have said they do not recognise the legitimacy of President Kenyatta.

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