FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi could make his way back into government this week as President Uhuru Kenyatta names the remaining two Cabinet Secretaries.
Mudavadi, who came third in last month’s presidential election, is poised to be named the minister in charge of the Interior and National Coordination ministry, according to multiple sources in political circles.
The other position is likely to go to a member of the Maasai community as the President and Deputy President William Ruto try to create regional balance in their Cabinet as required by the constitution.
At the weekend, Mudavadi, who was in Western province, is said to have confided to his inner circle that he was among those who Uhuru and Ruto are considering for the position.
On Saturday, Ruto hinted at Mudavadi’s return to government citing his experience as Vice President and minister in previous administrations.
“Mudavadi is our friend and we have resolved to walk along with him in this journe. We will not abandon him,” Ruto said. He was speaking at Lumakanda grounds during the homecoming of Lugari MP Ayub Savula.
Uhuru and Ruto are said to have agreed that one of the remaining two Cabinet positions should go to Western Kenya, which has received a single slot so far.
Judy Wakhungu from Sirisia was nominated Cabinet Secretary for Water, Environment and Natural Resources on Thursday last week. Uhuru, Ruto and Mudavadi signed a pre-election agreement where the President would have stepped down for Mudavadi as the Jubilee presidential candidate.
However, a few days later, Uhuru blamed the signing of the deal on “dark forces” within government, the short-lived marriage broke up and Mudavadi gunned for president on his own.
Mudavadi is set to be the third election loser to join Uhuru’s Cabinet after the President nominated former ministers Najib Balala and Charity Ngilu as Cabinet Secretaries.
Balancing political interests and regional balance has been one of the issues tasking the President and the Deputy President as they put together the Cabinet.
Ruto’s Rift Valley backyard already dominates the nominations to the first Jubilee Cabinet with sources saying the region is now likely to lose out on the Principal Secretaries appointments.
“Most of the Principal Secretaries will come from the regions that are not represented in Cabinet as the two bosses seek to form an all-inclusive government,” an aide to the two told the Star.
The President named four Cabinet Secretary nominees from Ruto’s backyard meaning there will be five people from Rift Valley—including the Deputy President—in the Jubilee Cabinet if the nominees are approved by Parliament.
The region also benefited by the naming of Lawrence Lenayapa as State House Comptroller. The President’s Central backyard got three slots, as did Eastern Province.
However, Uhuru could be seen to have picked four from his stronghold of the larger Mt Kenya region. Uhuru and Ruto, who won the election on the Jubilee Coalition ticket, got most of their votes from Rift Valley and the Mt Kenya regions.
Not only did the expansive province of Rift Valley get most of the most slots in Cabinet but it also landed dockets that are perceived to be among the most powerful and crucial in government.
Last Tuesday, as the President unveiled four of the nominees, he named the head of macroeconomics at the Treasury, Henry Rotich, as the nominee for Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury.
Investment banker Phyllis Kandie was nominated Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism. Management expert Felix Kosgey was named to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries while former Interim Independent Electoral Commission commissioner Davis Chirchir was named to the Energy and Petroleum ministry.
The list from Central includes Samuel Macharia (Health), Ann Waiguru (Devolution and Planning) and Michael Kamau (Transport and Infrastructure).
University of Nairobi deputy vice-chancellor Prof Jacob Kaimenyi, who was nominated to the Education docket, hails from Meru which is in Eastern though it is considered part of the Mt Kenya region.
The other nominees from Eastern are former Water minister Charity Ngilu, who has been proposed to take up the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Hassan Wario who is the nominee for Sports, Culture and Arts.
Coast and Western Kenya got one slot each.
Former Tourism Minister Najib Balala, who hails from the Coast, was named to the Mining ministry while Western’s Wakhungu was nominated to the Ministry of Water.
Nyanza region got two positions with Fred Okengo being named as Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and Technology while Raychaelle Omamo was named as the first Kenyan woman to head the Defence docket.
Former Justice PS Amina Mohammed (Foreign Affairs) and Aden Mohammed (Industrialisation and Enterprise Development) were the two nominees who hail from the North Eastern Region.
Aside form regional balance, the constitution requires all appointments made in government meet the two-thirds gender rule. The appointing authorities are also supposed to ensure that the appointees are people of high integrity and professional.
It has emerged that naming an 18-ministry government structure was strategic for Uhuru and Ruto should there be need to create more or split some of the existing ones. The constitution allows for 22 ministries.