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Kenya Reshuffles Cabinet Ahead of Haiti Peacekeeping

NAIROBI, KENYA — Kenya’s president, William Ruto, has made his first cabinet reshuffle, a change affecting eight ministries, including foreign affairs.

The change in cabinet ministers takes place just over a year since Ruto took power, with the country having a lot of hope in his government.

But the nation has struggled to deal with the high cost of living and unemployment after promising to improve people’s lives and provide better opportunities.

Political commentator Martin Andati said the government is making the cabinet changes to improve the delivery of its promises.

“People have lost confidence. The economy is in tatters. Things are not moving,” said Andati. “The expectations were very high. He gave a lot of hope. He has barely fulfilled 20, 30% of what he fulfilled. So, he’s trying to rejigger his government to see if the performance can be better in the second year. But it’s not going to be easy.”

The reshuffle also affected several other ministries, including those that deal with water, land, trade, public service, sports, public works and the East Africa community.

As part of the cabinet changes, the president appointed Musalia Mudavadi as head of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, replacing Alfred Mutua, who was moved to the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife.

Nasong’o Muliro, an international relations lecturer at the Technical University in Kenya, said Mudavadi had been doing relevant work in the area.

“It’s part of that system of entrenching relations,” said Muliro. “It’s part of that system of introducing the president to other leaders in the region and he has been using Musalia Mudavadi more than even the deputy president and Dr. Mutua because Musalia Mudavadi is more senior in terms of political optics than the other members of his cabinet.”

The change in the Foreign Affairs Ministry follows the United Nations Security Council’s approval for Kenya to deploy a police force to Haiti to help provide peace and security to the Caribbean nation.

Some observers blame the inexperience of Mutua for his apparent demotion and said Kenya needs a strong voice in the international system.

But commentator Andati said the president demoted Mutua before the reshuffling of the cabinet and the change is unrelated to the deployment of forces to Haiti.

“The decision is being pushed by the president. So Mutua’s input on that was minimal, but generally he was lost,” said Andati. “You remember there was a circular the president issued saying that the foreign countries can deal with the departments directly. They don’t need to deal through the Minister of Foreign Affairs. That was a major sign that he had lost faith in the performance of CS [Cabinet Secretary] Mutua.”

The Kenyan parliament is expected to debate and vote for the deployment of police to Haiti.

International lecturer Muliro said Mudavadi is key to explaining the need for Kenya to contribute on the international stage.

“There will be a lot of convincing in parliament, first even to just make it understandable to Kenyans that police who were designed by the constitution to be deployed internally as arbiters, we are now using them in the external perspectives,” said Muliro. “And therefore, remember, Musalia Mudavadi is also a leader of a very strong political party. He has goodwill within parliament and therefore, he will be doing a lot of explaining and answering in parliament.”

The president has yet to dismiss any minister, despite expressing dissatisfaction with some of them.

Source : VOA News