Radical sweep of new Ruto broom in Kenya – CAJ News Africa

of MARY MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya Office
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – BY turning the tables against his predecessor and former boss on some divisive policies, William Ruto has taken the lead during his reign as President of Kenya.

After the fall of the two allies before last month’s elections, it was inevitable that the new leader would reverse some positions of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.

However, it was unimaginable that these policies would be canceled on the first day of the new head of state’s term of office.

The rift between the two men erupted towards the end of the previous administration when Kenyatta endorsed his longtime rival, Raila Odinga, rather than his deputy, Ruto.

It was an emphatic but bumpy start to Ruto’s presidency in the East African country, which, marked by sweeping political changes, coincided with fuel prices reaching record highs.

The day after his inauguration, he abolished Kenya’s recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as an independent state.

The SADR is engaged in a long-running conflict with Morocco in the former’s agitation for autonomy.

SADR President Brahim Ghali was a notable participant at Ruto’s inauguration ceremony on Tuesday.

A day later, after a meeting with King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Ruto rescinded Kenya’s recognition of SADR.

“Kenya is rescinding its recognition of SADR and taking steps to reduce the entity’s presence in the country,” the new president said.

The SADR embassy in the capital Nairobi will therefore be closed. It has been operational since 2014.

Also on his first day, he appointed six judges whose nomination by the Judicial Service Commission had been rejected by Kenyatta three years ago.

They have been appointed to the Court of Appeal, the High Court as well as the Environment and Land Tribunal.

Eric Theuri, president of the Law Society of Kenya, hailed this as a positive start to Ruto’s reign

“The appointment of judges to the Court of Appeal and High Court and the pledged support for the judiciary are much appreciated signs,” Theuri said.

Nonetheless, Ruto’s appointment of Kenyatta to lead regional peace efforts is a promising basis for bridging the gap between the two politicians.

The announcement of a fuel price hike, however, marked the beginning of Ruto’s presidency.

As announced by the Petroleum and Energy Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the price of petrol has increased by 20 Ksh (0.17 USD) to a record high of 179.30 Ksh per litre.

Diesel increased from KSh25 to Ksh165.

The increases are in line with the removal of the new government’s subsidies on petroleum fuels.

Meanwhile, another highlight of an eventful day was Ruto signing the book of condolences for the late Queen Elizabeth II at the residence of the UK High Commissioner.

On inauguration day, the injuries of dozens of citizens and Odinga’s absence highlighted ominous dark clouds gathering overhead as Ruto’s rule resumed.

Now, after the dust settled on his election as the fifth head of state, he must quickly address the myriad issues plaguing Kenya, including the polarization created by the tightest election in the country’s history. .

If Odinga’s snub was any measure of trouble to come, scoring injury in a stadium stampede was a tragic indicator of high expectations in East Africa’s biggest economy as it battles the consequences of COVID-19.

It is not unusual in Kenya for a new leader to take office with legitimacy concerns marring his or her rise.

This is the hallmark of Odinga.

He was the plaintiff in each of four successive polls Kenya held between 20007 and last month, when he won 48.85% of the vote to Ruto’s 50.49%.

Odinga confirmed that he received a letter and a phone call from Ruto inviting him to take the oath. He confirmed that he rejected the olive branch.

He “regretted” being out of the country and had “other serious concerns”.

It is unlikely that “Baba” will be present, in any case, as for him, Ruto was not democratically elected.

Odinga, first, questioned the conduct of the polls by the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

“Secondly, I believe the Supreme Court’s decision was not based on facts and law, even though we accepted it,” he replied.

The election of a new president has been a divisive issue before that, including the 1997 edition in which Odinga participated for the first time. Another ten years later, which left more than 1,100 dead.

At no time in the country’s recent history has a president been sworn in with such anticipation as this week.

The Kenyans’ mood is so high that they risked their lives to force their way into Kasarani Stadium where Ruto was sworn in.

At 05:00, police confirmed that the 60,000 seat stadium was already full to capacity.

It’s five hours before the swearing-in.

“In anticipation of being part of history, Kenyans thronged the site in large numbers,” said Bruno Isohi Shioso, spokesman for the National Police Service, ahead of the historic event.

“To avoid logistical issues, it’s about asking the audience to make alternate arrangements to view the proceedings, especially from the comfort of their own homes,” Shioso said.

The message was obviously not heard, which caused the stampede.

Francis Wairimu (34), was among those who invaded the room.

“I attended to see the people’s president live,” the Nairobi resident said.

The rise of Ruto (55) from a roadside chicken vendor at the time to the country’s highest office resonates with a majority of young Kenyans, who bear the brunt of unemployment, aggravated by COVID -19 and broken promises by successive governments.

Some Kenyans were wary of Odinga’s rise to the presidency, which critics say entrenched dynasty politics.

The Kenyatta and Odinga families have been dominant forces in the local political landscape.

Kenyatta’s father, Jomo, was the first president. Odinga’s father, Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga, was his deputy.

Ruto’s campaign was based on self-declaration as the champion of the “nation of hustlers”.

This refers to the majority of youth deprived of formal employment but surviving through informal means and resilience.

“Now that he is at the helm, the new president must shed that hustler label and ensure that his administration creates formal jobs and empowers the millions of young people most affected by economic scourges,” said analyst Brian Omondi.

Kenya is a young country.

The age group of 18 to 35 years represents about 75% of the total population estimated at 56 million.

Recognizing Odinga as his worthy competitor and friend, Ruto called for unity as the foundation of his rule.

“Elections and democracy are about unifying competition, not divisive rivalry,” he said during his swearing-in.

Ruto promised that in the coming days he would make advance statements to better define the trajectory of his administration.

“I promise to make every Kenyan proud and ensure the economic well-being of all,” the president assured.

– CAJ News

Comments are closed.