- Sep 24, 2010
Raila drops Ruto
Prof Hellen Sambili (left) and William Ruto (right) address a press conference at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, August 25, 2011. The two said they were in transit from ODM following the sacking of party rebels from governmentBY Martin Mutua
Prime Minister Raila Odinga severed links with Eldoret North MP William Ruto by casting the last die - sacking him from the Cabinet
The Prime Minister and his allies had tried for months to pull Ruto back into the ODM-fold without success. The former Higher Education Minister defiantly declared he had moved on.
Prof Margaret Kamar replaced Ruto as the Minister for Higher Education.
In a mini-reshuffle President Kibaki and the Prime Minister announced on Wednesday, another Ruto ally, Hellen Sambili, was also sacked. Nominated MP Musa Sirma replaced her.
The changes had been anticipated since last year, when ODM MPs allied to Ruto defied the party, and started working and voting with President Kibaki's Party of National Unity.
On Wednesday, Ruto said, "I'm not surprised about the sacking. I left the Cabinet a long time ago. I wish Sirma and Kamar well. I now have enough time to prepare for the battle ahead."
Ruto has declared presidential ambition, and says he is running for State House next year. Sirma, popularly nicknamed ‘The Governor', is an ally of Raila. He has been a key defender of the Prime Minister in the Rift Valley. By picking Sirma, Raila wanted to have a person he can work with. The nominated MP has often dismissed Ruto's alliance with MPs from central Kenya.District forester
The MP, who rose from an assistant district forester, MP, assistant minister, and now a Cabinet minister, has defended Raila against accusations that he shortchanged MPs from Rift Valley, when the Coalition Government was formed.
Ruto was appointed to the Cabinet as part of the power sharing arrangement on the ODM side of the Coalition Government in 2008.
The move ends the suspense game the two principals have been playing with Kenyans over Cabinet reshuffle.
And in a surprise move, Sirisia MP Moses Wetangula returned to the Cabinet, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs. But a report on whether he was culpable in a probe of Sh1.2 billion scandal involving sale of the Kenyan Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, has not been made public.
Wetangula and his Permanent Secretary, Thuita Mwangi, stepped aside last year, following a parliamentary report. The House adopted the report that demanded Wetangula step aside to allow the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) to investigate the scandal.KACC, under Director PLO Lumumba, is yet to conclude the probe.
Internal Security Minister George Saitoti has been acting as Foreign Affairs minister, with Patrick Wamoto as acting Permanent Secretary.
It appears Raila spared suspended Industrialisation minister, Henry Kosgey, whose ministry still does not have a substantive minister. Fisheries minister Amazon Kingi is the acting minister. Kosgey has a case pending in court, over allegations of importation of vehicles flouting the eight-year rule.
By so doing, it appears Raila did not want to be seen to be burning more bridges in the Rift Valley. But the political landscape in the Rift could change next month, when Ruto and Kosgey appear at the International Criminal Court over post-elections violence charges.
The Hague confirmation of charges hearings begin next week for Ruto, Kosgey, and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang. The two principals seem to have treaded carefully by not replacing Kosgey because of the court case.
Also dropped from the Cabinet are other key Ruto supporters – Assistant ministers Aden Duale (Dujis) and Mohamed Muhamud Ali (Mandera West).
Raila appointed Voi MP Dan Mwazo to replace Duale, as Livestock Assistant minister. Wajir North MP Mohammed Gabbow replaced Ali, as Assistant Minister for Special Programmes.
South Mugirango MP, Manson Nyamweya, made his debut to the Cabinet, with the PM appointing him an Assistant Minister for Trade.
Also making his first appearance to the Cabinet is another Raila ally, Kapenguria MP, the Reverend Julius Murgor. He was appointed Assistant Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources, to replace Prof Kamar.Reinstatement
Ruto had recently written to the President and the Prime Minister asking for reinstatement to the Cabinet. In the letter dated June 20, and exclusively obtained by The Standard, Ruto said he was suspended because of a court case, which has since been dismissed.
"Your Excellency, I respectfully suggest that a decision be made one way or the other on the appointment of a substantive minister, as the current situation undermines the performance of the ministry, and prejudices innocent citizens in the higher education sector."
Ruto was suspended from the Cabinet last October, over allegations of fraud involving sale of public land in Ngong Forest, in the outskirts of Nairobi.
The Eldoret North MP called for a review of his position and that of the ministry because he had been acquitted of criminal charges, which were the basis of his suspension.
He listed five initiatives, which he said he started at the Ministry of Higher Education that he argued require completion. He detailed a raft of reforms undertaken by the ministry, which he said, "require the stewardship of a substantive minister to spearhead and guide".