Internal Power Struggle Behind Delay in Composition of Jubilee Cabinet
Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are mere figure heads and they know it
When Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto entered into a “50-50 power sharing deal” ahead of elections, there were no details on how the division of power at the Cabinet level would be accomplished. More than two weeks after Uhuru and Ruto were sworn following a rigged election, the two have been unable to name the Cabinet. Although Uhuru said that the waiting would be over by today at 9.00 am, there must be explanations behind the extra-ordinarily long delay.
According to Uhuru and his Deputy, the two have been involved in lengthy interviews with the candidates and that this engagement explains why more than two weeks after inauguration, the Cabinet is not yet in place. For the man in the street, the two probably needed more time to construct the best Cabinet possible but for the man in the political think tank, there can be no explanation apart from a protracted power struggle with the 50-50 deal taking centre stage. A look at the background of Uhuru’s and Ruto’s political situation after their take-over of State House could help unravel the puzzle.
Both Uhuru and Ruto are beneficiaries of a rigged election (courtesy of IEBC) and a compromised Supreme Court (courtesy of Dr. Willy Mutunga). Consequently, it must be recognized that there are other powerful forces behind the scenes who brought them to power. These forces include Commander of the Armed Forces John Karangi, Director of NSIS George Gichangi, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and Head of Civil service Francis Kimemia.
Anybody who is capable of controlling the military, the police, the Intelligence Services, the Supreme Court and the Central Bank of any country can be said to be in power. If this postulation can be accepted, it can be safe to assert that a mafia cartel composed of a thieving and ruthless group of Kikuyu elite are the real forces in power and they are the ones who are responsible for the delay in the composition of the Cabinet, not Uhuru and Ruto. They were the same forces who were in control of the Kibaki regime as the old man slept at State House.
Having brought Uhuru and Ruto to power, this cartel has a big say in the composition of the Cabinet irrespective of propaganda to the contrary. Regardless of the theater Uhuru and Ruto try to play to demonstrate that the delay in composing the Cabinet is due to work constraints, only the man in the street can believe them. Indeed, a courageous journalist did ask them if internal power struggle is the problem and the two were clearly in denial. The composition of the Cabinet will have to ensure that power remains on the hands of the cartel irrespective of what was written in some 50-50 power sharing deal before an election that was, in reality rigged.
Power Ministries: Uhuru and Ruto are mere figure-heads in government and they know it. They are more grateful that they are in State House and therefore temporarily shielded from ICC which is hovering above their heads on a daily basis. The tussle with Cabinet compositions might be centered around the need to allow the rigging mafia cartel to have their way on the one hand and Ruto to save face on the other so that the son of the Kalenjin is not seen by his supporters to have been short changed by the Kikuyu Raila Odinga style. In fact, the problem rotates around control of the “power ministries”.
These are the Ministry of Defence; Interior and Coordination of National Government; National Treasury; Foreign Affairs; Devolution and Planning; Mining; Energy and Petroleum; Transport and Infrastructure together with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. As the country waits for the announcement of the Cabinet this morning, the most important outcome for the ethnic Kenyan public will be the ethnic origin of personalities who will occupy the above Ministries regardless of the propaganda being peddled to the contrary. Kenyans “voted ethnic” and they expect this tendency to be reflected in the composition of the Cabinet.
As mentioned, both Uhuru and Ruto tried to downplay the issue of a power struggle at a Press Conference at State House yesterday with Ruto going out of his way to explain that Kenyans should not be seeking to establish who is TNA or URP in the Jubilee Cabinet because such a line is non-existent. Surely, if this distinction cannot be established, then what was the 50-50 power sharing deal all about?
It seems as though Ruto has just discovered that he has lost it because for an electorate which cast its votes on purely ethnic lines, it will be impossible to keep supporters satisfied if TNA’s and URP’s share in government is invisible to the naked eye. The power sharing formula cannot be hidden from an ethnic electorate which believes that it “will gain” in some way when the loaf of bread is eventually shared.
Ruto may have discovered that as Deputy President, he has no power to decide on anything major. Having been rigged in by the cartel, Ruto’s big dilemma will be hinged on the fact that he has no voice in the power sharing arrangement ahead of ICC hearings. The mafia cartel is unlikely to compromise on the “power ministries” without which Ruto shall have ended up with a quarter of a loaf (or less) when the deal was half a loaf. Uhuru is sitting pretty because by virtue of his ethnic origin, he is naturally aligned to the mafia cartel controlling events from the background. Why should Ruto be a worried man?
The remaining Ministries like Industrialization and Enterprise Development is useless in a country unable to industrialize due to technological constraints arising out of imperialist monopoly of technology. The Ministry of Health is rout with problems in a country where the health care system is on private hands, public health facilities dilapidated, medical personnel poorly paid and the health care system is poorly funded. The free maternity services promised by Jubilee will cost Ksh 9 billion annually and no one knows where the money will come from with public debt standing at Ksh 1.8 trillion. Both Doctors and Nurses are waiting for the establishment of the Cabinet so that they can resume demands for higher wages and supply of equipment in hospitals. The implication is that the Ministry of Health will be one of the most “problematic” from day one. Already, the Doctors, through their representatives, have publicly rejected the nominee for health Cabinet Secretary on grounds that the nominee has no background in health care and will therefore be unable to understand critical issues.
Uhuru and Ruto are in power at the pleasure of their bosses
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development will be awash with conflicts in a country where the President’s family is the biggest land grabber and where the government stopped building houses for citizens especially in urban areas in the 70s. Without a program for nationalization of land (with or without compensation) being put forward by Kenyan socialists, Jubilee has no solution to the perennial problem of landlessness in Kenya. The urban areas are themselves infested with poverty, slums, high unemployment especially among the youth, crime by idle frustrated youths, poor infrastructure and collapsed social services, deficiencies that have made life in the cities “hell on earth”. If the government had money, the picture could be brighter but the situation is bad because the government has a huge budget deficit while real wealth producing sectors (like the transport sector) are on private hands. Who wants the Ministry of lands, Housing and Urban Development?
When one evaluates the Ministry of Education in terms of problems, the immediate and newest items that comes to mind are the free laptops for standard one kids and free milk. That is if the thorny teacher’s wage hike, strike headaches, shortage of teachers and lack of school books are set aside. In any case, there will be no real money for the mafia to loot in the Ministry of education whose wage bill is the biggest in the public sector. While Uhuru could do business with the government by selling Brookside milk to schools, the lap-top project remains an expensive “wait and see” project because the country does not have enough money to even finance the budget and the Jubilee government will be depending on borrowing to make ends meet.
In fact, Ruto may end up with the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts or Ministry of Labour, Social Services and Social Security in a country where there has never been any form of social security, leave alone jobs to keep the Ministry of Labour running.
The Mafia cartel feared Raila Odinga because they did not want to lose their jobs so how will they allow themselves to be sacked, now that they have brought both Ruto and Uhuru to power? For the cartel, both Uhuru and Ruto should be happy that now, they are in a better position to fight against their ICC cases and not bother too much with issues of governance. The two are in power through the pleasure of their bosses, not through the Kenyan electorate which has been hood-winked. To suggest that there is no power struggle that may have delayed the composition of the Cabinet nominees is to assume the intelligence of all thinking Kenyans. It is a difficult situation because while the faces in the Cabinet might be new, they must be aligned to either TNA or URP.
By appearing “in uniform” like school children to face the media at State House (it’s their idea of projecting a united front), both Uhuru and Ruto might be unconscious of the fact that the uniforms make them look more like real clowns with their political godfathers pulling the strings from the background. As the Cabinet is announced and Kenyans encouraged to forget about TNA-URP faces in the Cabinet my take is that William Ruto has all the reasons to be a worried man because he is surrounded by a cartel that will, at best, use and dump him if necessary. If he becomes problematic, he could as well be handed over to the ICC as Kenyatta is shielded to maintain the status quo.