President Ruto, you won the election, stop campaigning
Soon after coming into office as deputy president, William Ruto began making tours across the country, donating millions of shillings to churches and opening or launching this or that project.
In the second term, these donations and tours escalated. It was now evident that he had started campaigning for the presidency. Last year, his campaigning, combined with “religiosity” and largesse catapulted him to the presidency. His supporters argued that now that he was president, he would settle down and work beyond the call of duty.
First, to erase his reputation as a person of suspect integrity; second, to uplift the more than 15 million who live below the poverty line; and third, to prove to the world that Kenya and Africa could, like the Southeast Asian countries, finally overcome the undignifying conditions of underdevelopment.
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With such an impossible task ahead of him, one would have imagined that the President, his deputy, Cabinet and top government officers would have absolutely no time for any kind of monkey business, little propensity for laxity, and zero tolerance for thievery.
Well, hardly a year into his presidency, William Ruto is confirming the worst fears of those who did not vote for him.
Media exposes have revealed that thievery, which had reached crisis proportions in the first six years of the Jubilee government, is again on a rising trajectory. His Cabinet is fast gaining a reputation of being incompetent and uncouth, with one member using foul language that we never heard even during the Kanu dictatorship. There seems to be no central organising ethos and ideas in government.
By contrast, every official in China is driven by a set of goals and values, all of which aim to make that country the most developed in the history of the world. Monetary compensation is not the overriding motivation. Fundamentally, what drives these officials is national pride. They want to prove to themselves and the world that they can achieve, through sheer effort of mind and body, the impossible.
During the signing of performance contracts at State House, Nairobi, President Ruto admitted that many of his Cabinet members know nothing about the departments they head. Even his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, who believes Kenya is a company whose shares are owned by those who voted for the regime, decried the constant travelling abroad by Cabinet members. Some of these “shareholders,” said Mr Gachagua, change clothes at the airport.
Read:NGUGI: Failure to end graft is Africa’s leadership curse
As if these deficiencies are not enough, Dr Ruto, borrowing a leaf from his time as deputy president, has started campaigns for 2027.
He, Gachagua and other government “shareholders” spend government time and money on tours as if we are in the middle of a campaign season.
This week, Ruto and Gachagua threw a feast for impoverished residents of Nyeri at the Sagana State Lodge. Do you eliminate poverty by these self-serving handouts? What are the central organising values, goals and principles of Ruto’s government? Are there any?
Tee Ngugi is a Nairobi-based political commentator