Nine Months Down: What Kenya Kwanza Administration Is Getting Right

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President William Ruto

After clinching the Presidency in the last elections Dr. William Ruto has embarked on the process of rebuilding the country amidst a myriad of challenges, among them a battered economy and a sharply divided population.

He began by stopping subsidies on the country’s consumption of commodities like unga, which happened immediately after he took oath as the Head of State in September last year. He made the difficult decision to instead subsidize food production, a move that saw farmers across the country get fertilizers for their farms for planting. This was a masterstroke that will pay dividends in the coming days, especially in regard to immediate food supply.

The President has also proven to be a hands-on leader, especially on matters to do with the protection of public finances in his first nine months, as well as in running his government. Ruto can be accused of many things, but laxity and being out of touch with the current realities facing his countrymen and women is not one of them. The resolute and immediate cracking of the whip on the KEMSA theft is evidence he keenly follows what happens in his government and will go to great lengths to protect public funds.
The Finance Bill is through in Parliament and Kenyans are now looking at the details of President Ruto’s vision and how he intends to build the country’s key sectors of Health & Education, as well as solve the issues around Housing.

The Pan-African Approach to Continental Politics

The Head of State’s Pan-African approach to continental affairs is also gradually forming the profile of what we should expect from this Presidency. His speech at the Pan-African Parliament in May where he agitated for the unity of African states and called out Western powers for the over-exploitation of Africa and her people, was one of the boldest speeches from an African president.

DP Rigathi Gachagua and Government
As the Principal Assistant to the Head of State, DP Gachagua has cut the figure of a fiercely loyal deputy, one who never shies away from taking a bullet for his boss, the President. Despite some critics labeling him divisive, he is sticking to the script that the Kenya Kwanza government will only be run by individuals aware of what the administration is supposed to be doing; the (famous) Plan.

He is also doing some heavy lifting on issues many would rather avoid. For example, he seems to have resolved to restore the dignity and profitability of the coffee, milk, and tea industries; sectors that are managed by vicious cartels. He has embarked on this responsibility with gusto and his recent forums, especially the one in Meru indicate that he knows what he is doing. He has taken the same spirit to the fight against illicit alcohol and drugs.

DP Rigathi Gachagua could end up being Kenya’s most effective public servant if he were to deal with just these two issues!

The Three Things Standing Out
President William Ruto has hugely favored the youth in his administration. Starting from the leaders he appointed to champion the Kenya Kwanza Agenda in Parliament (The Majority Whip and The Majority Leader) who are fairly young legislators with the vigour and oomph to push the government agenda.

It is also clear he will push for open Government – with a commitment not to shield corrupt public officials and the openness to public criticism including the proposal to have a fully operational Opposition Leader’s office, supported by the taxpayer shows how much the President is willing to open up his administration for scrutiny, and him, being held accountable.

Finally, the President clearly expects his government to be in touch with reality. Choosing the path of self-sufficiency and reducing the over-reliance on foreign loans for our development is painful now, but it is a huge milestone for the current administration once it takes root. Kenya raising its own revenue will hugely reduce the debt burden on Kenyans.

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