Leaders from across the political divide are piling the pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve his Cabinet in the wake of a storm created by an alleged assassination plot against his deputy William Ruto.
Mr Ruto claimed last week that four of his colleagues in the Cabinet — Mr Peter Munya (Industrialisation), Ms Sicily Kariuki (Health) and Mr Joe Mucheru (Information) were plotting to assassinate him, and on Sunday several leaders, most of them from the ruling Jubilee Party, argued that the environment of mistrust and division within the Cabinet is affecting service delivery.
The leaders said that the only way to end the impasse within the Cabinet, which is the country’s highest decision making organ, was for the President to take the drastic measure of admitting that the Cabinet has become dysfunctional and chaotic.
Eldas MP Adan Keynan urged President Kenyatta to move with speed and reconstitute it as the public has lost confidence in the current lot of ministers.
“Politics is about perception, and in the eyes of the general public the Cabinet is not functional,” said Mr Keynan. “There is no sense of collective responsibility.”
His sentiments were echoed by Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, who noted that, for success and efficiency in service delivery, the President only requires CSs who are loyal to him.
He said Mr Kenyatta should emulate his predecessor Mwai Kibaki, who in 2005 sacked his entire Cabinet two days after the draft Constitution he had supported was rejected in a national referendum.
“The Cabinet is already divided; the President should dissolve it and immediately form a new one so that he can have 100 per cent loyalty,” said Mr Kamanda.
He further took on Mr Ruto, accusing him of dividing the Cabinet by singling out the four ministers for condemnation and warning that this was an indication that the DP wanted to intimidate the president’s loyalists in government.
Soy MP Caleb Kositany said the country yearns for President Kenyatta’s direction on the matter, saying his silence as the Cabinet wrangles was sending the wrong message.
“I believe that his speaking out would calm the situation and offer some sense of direction in the confusion we are seeing in the country’s politics,” said Mr Kositany.
In Nandi, Governor Stephen Sang and former County Council chairman Charles Tanui also asked the President to dissolve the Cabinet and speak out on alleged plans to assassinate his Deputy.
The two, who spoke in Kapsabet, said the President’s words would reduce the prevailing tension since the assassination claims came to light.
They said it was wrong for the head of state to remain silent as claims of elimination swirl around his deputy.
“The President should have sacked the Cabinet Secretaries mentioned in the alleged scheme against the DP as investigations continue,” said Mr Sang.
Though it has not been said openly, it is an open secret that the Cabinet is divided between ministers loyal to the President and those who appear allied to Mr Ruto and his 2022 presidential ambition.
For instance, Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, speaking to Inooro FM last month, hinted that he was finding it hard to operate and deliver for the government he serves.
Without revealing identities, the CS said somebody “within the government” was “laying up landmines and traps for him” with the sole purpose of undermining him.
Asked during the interview whether he was eyeing to be DP Ruto’s running mate in 2022, Mr Kiunjuri said that, as an opinion leader, he has a responsibility to provide guidance to his community.
While it has been alleged that it was Mr Ruto who asked the Directorate Criminal Investigations to investigate the alleged plot against him by four of his colleagues, the DP has maintained studious silence on the matter, at least publicly.
The three ministers have since been summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to explain the purpose of their meetings at La Mada Hotel off Thika Road, where their accusers said they met regularly to firm up their plot against the DP.
The summons came in the wake of an anonymous letter allegedly written to President Kenyatta by a minister who was protesting against meetings convened by colleagues from Mt Kenya to plan how to stop Mr Ruto from becoming President.
The ministers admitted that they had been meeting at the hotel, but only to discuss development matters affecting their regions and dockets.
“The President has the power to do it on his own volition without undue pressure and he must do it in his own time,” he said.
“If he does dissolve it, the key focus should be on performance as the criteria of determining who goes and who remains.”
Reporting by Ibrahim Oruko, Eric Wainaina and Tom Matoke and Wycliffe Kipsang