in the cold

Kenya: Affiliate parties in Ruto’s ruling coalition accuse him of favouritism

By Victor Abuso

Posted on December 29, 2022 14:58

 © President William Ruto (photo: @WilliamsRuto)
President William Ruto (photo: @WilliamsRuto)

Small political parties affiliated with the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance say they feel sidelined by how President William Ruto is handling state appointments, accusing him of favouring members from his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.

The accusations are being spearheaded by the Secretary-General of the Democratic party, Jacob Ali Haji. He says despite the coalition agreement stating that all parties within the Kenya Kwanza coalition are equal, after assuming the Presidency, Ruto did not consult smaller parties but focused on his UDA party as he continued to form the government.

“We are disappointed because UDA dominates everything. Things changed after the election,” says Haji.

Another party, the Communist party of Kenya, also says it has been left behind and is being unfairly treated by the UDA because it is among the affiliate parties which do not have elected representatives in the coalition.

The chairman of the party, Mwandawiro Mghanga warns that if the complaints are not urgently addressed, the ruling coalition risks collapsing.

“It is very unfortunate that [the] UDA is not living to what we agreed on. Let UDA live true to the pre-election agreement,”  says Mghanga.

Deal signed

Ruto signed a pre-election agreement with more than 10 parties to share government appointments if he won.

However beneficiaries from his appointments thus far, apart from his UDA party, include two other founding members of the coalition: Amani National Congress whose leader Musalia Mudavadi was appointed as Chief Cabinet Secretary and Ford Kenya party, whose leader Mose Wentangula is the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Other affiliate parties whose members are still waiting for appointments include:

  • Farmers Party;
  • Devolution Party of Kenya;
  • Economic Freedom Party;
  • Umoja na Maendeleo Party;
  • Democratic Party;
  • Chama Cha Kazi;
  • Communist Party of Kenya (CPK);
  • The Service Party (TSP);
  • Tujibebe Wakenya Party.

‘I have not forgotten you’

The complaints against Ruto come days after he was in a closed-door meeting at State House Nairobi last week, where he met politicians and officials from affiliate parties that run various elective positions, but lost the August elections. He assured them that they had not been forgotten in his appointments.

Ruto reportedly assured members of the affiliate parties that he still remembers them, but also reminded them that as President, he does not want to be seen as favouring individuals from his Kenya Kwanza Coalition for his appointment.

“I have to satisfy every region, I have not forgotten you,” Ruto told politicians from the affiliate parties.

President Ruto is yet to appoint Chief Administrative Secretaries that assist the Cabinet Secretary /Ministers , Principal Secretaries and Ambassadors. Many from the affiliate parties hope that they will get these slots.

Ruto is consolidating UDA party

Political analyst Brian Wanyama tells The Africa Report that going by the appointments so far of the President, Ruto is set to make his Party stand out in his government by having the majority in elective positions.

But it also sends a message that he does not want to be held hostage by anyone as he forms his government.

However, Wanyama warns that, if Ruto does not quickly respond to the complaints from the coalition partners, he might lose them to the opposition led by Raila Odinga ahead of the 2027 polls.

“Ruto needs to respond quickly to the demands of affiliate parties, if not he will lose them,” Wanyama says.

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