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Ruto’s absence at Uhuru cabinet announcement sends tongues wagging

Ruto’s absence at Uhuru cabinet announcement sends tongues wagging

Ruto’s absence at Uhuru cabinet announcement sends tongues wagging
January 06
03:42 2018

By ALLAN TAWAI

Deputy President William Ruto’s conspicuous absence during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Cabinet announcement on Friday raised questions with some speculating that there could be tension between the two.

Despite being in the country, Ruto was not standing next to President Uhuru Kenyatta during the unveiling of part of the second and final term Cabinet and one in which 13 Cabinet Secretaries were sacked.

Unlike in the previous announcement where the two walked to the podium side by side, in white shirts and red ties as a sign of solidarity, yesterday’s announcement spanked of one of a lone ranger bent on finally asserting himself on the last leg of his presidency.

President Kenyatta and DP Ruto in a past public function

President Kenyatta and DP Ruto in a past public function

In the past public announcements that the two have had, they have projected this image of a perfect pair of friends and colleagues who are united in purpose in the delivery of services to the public.

During the 2013 unveiling of Cabinet, DP Ruto appeared alongside President Kenyatta with both leaders adorning red ties to convey solidarity. In September 2017, the deputy president accompanied the President to his first presser after the Supreme Court annulled their victory.

But on Friday, President Kenyatta, who exhibited a different body language, was using more of ‘I’ rather than ‘we’ in his address and ‘according to the powers conferred upon me under the Constitution,’ rather than ‘after consultations we have decided.’

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Also missing was the excitement that was previously witnessed in the other such announcements, the President cut the image of someone who simply wanted to say what he had to say and retreat to the comfort of his office.

However, speaking to the Saturday Standard yesterday, the DP’s spokesperson David Mugonyi dismissed speculation of tension between the President and his deputy saying: “The Constitution is very clear on who appoints the Cabinet. We should stop this nusu mkate (half loaf) mentality that has existed in some people’s minds. Who says so and so must be present for something to have concurrence,” he paused

Mr. Mugonyi cited other functions at State House where the DP did not attend including a recent meeting between the president and MPs in deciding on parliamentary committee chairmen. “Maybe it is the new way of doing things,” another source close to the DP said.

The formation of the next Cabinet is being watched keenly because it is the team that is expected to form the legacy for President Kenyatta.

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto during launching of their reelection campaign manifestos

President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto during launching of their reelection campaign manifestos

Nevertheless, the formation of the Cabinet is also being seen as a pointer towards the kind of politics the country will be looking at in the next five years as Ruto prepares himself to inherit the mantle of the Jubilee Party’s flag bearer. Analysts said the absence of Ruto can mean that the excitement may be coming to an end.

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“It could mean that the excitement is over or that the dalliance is dissipating. It could also mean nothing,” Herman Manyora, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi and a political analyst said.

On his part, Dr. Mark Chetambe, a lecturer of Kenyatta University said that the president did not look as relaxed as he always was when making similar announcements alongside his deputy.

“It appeared a little odd when he showed up alone. His body language also showed that he was not as relaxed as has been in the past,” Dr. Chetambe said.

National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale and his Senate counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen, the most vocal Jubilee leaders who comment on almost every issue, could not be reached for comment.

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