I HAVE NO KITCHEN CABINET, SAYS UHURU
PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta has denied that he has a ‘kitchen cabinet’ that aids in the making of key decisions within the Presidency. In an interview with Citizen TV on Tuesday night, the President said unlike his predecessors, he does not have a clique of friends helping him run the country.
Other than Deputy President William Ruto, who the President said he consults on a regular basis, Uhuru said that he follows the counsel of his Cabinet Secretaries.
“I don’t have anything like a kitchen cabinet. I have 18 men and women who form my Cabinet who indeed would be my close advisors alongside with advisors who you are already aware who are specialists in various areas. Those are the people who I would consult with on a regular basis as we make key decisions moving forward,” Uhuru said.
His predecessors, the late Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki had a clique of individuals who made key decisions around the president. Some of them become so powerful and rich.
These individuals were businessmen, former classmates and friends and were said to have had the President’s ear in matters relating to running the Presidency.
Some of these individuals had direct access to State House despite not holding any positions in government and would see the heads of state any time they wished.
The President said that he believes that those who should be involved in decision making are those who are to implement them and can take “ownership” of various projects.
“But to say that there is a little group or clique.. I don’t really believe that. I think that is where things start going wrong because ultimately, all decisions I make have to be implemented by somebody. So you need to get those people who are involved in managing those dockets,” Uhuru said.
Uhuru was speaking during an interview to mark his first year in office as President following his win of the March 2013 elections. President also said that he and Ruto choose to ignore their critics especially those who insinuate that there are differences between them.
He termed as “petty politics” and “politics of negativity” anything that is not aimed at pushing the Jubilee agenda of serving Kenyans. “We ignore it. May be people out there go out there to create a problem but there is no problem. The one thing that we have always said and I have told him is that ours is to ensure that we do not allow politics of yesterday to dominate us today. We are here with a very clear agenda, mutually agreed between ourselves and those in Jubilee that we want to transform this country,” Uhuru said.
The President also said that their political relationship with Ruto would last for the next 20 years pointing to a likelihood of the two running on the same ticket in 2017.
“My clear image is that it will last for the next 20 years. That’s where we want to go. We are not going to achieve our transformation and we are not going to achieve our agenda as a country of becoming a middle-income nation if we are going to be diverted every five years. It is a long term plan that must succeed,” Uhuru said.
Away from politics, the President termed insecurity as the greatest challenge that he has faced sincds.e taking over office admitting that that Kenyans have lived in danger.
Uhuru said that security agents had thwarted various terror attacks in the last one year as he recounted on the Westgate attack. The president also said that his government was determined to deal with food insecurity as well as bringing the cost of energy down.