Uhuru ministers out to counter non-performance campaign - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 18 February 2021

Uhuru ministers out to counter non-performance campaign


President Uhuru Kenyatta has rolled out an aggressive strategy to counter claims of non-performance in what could turn the tables on his deputy William Ruto.

There is a growing sense of urgency and determination by the President to deliver on his pledges to Kenyans before the end of his term next year, even as he pushes for BBI constitutional changes.

Racing against time and fearing the 'lame duck' period next year, the President has instructed his officers to ensure money is available for crucial projects at the heart of his legacy.

Uhuru has been under siege from Deputy President Ruto's allies and a section of politicians from his own Mt Kenya turf over failures in his final term.

He has unveiled a programme to showcase and shield his development record. Projects include roads, water, irrigation, housing, manufacturing and other works.

For the first time, the President has dispatched his 22-member Cabinet to the field to fast-track the implementation of priority projects critical to sealing his legacy.

He is facing an onslaught from Ruto's Tangatanga camp, saying he has not delivered on his development promises or created the many jobs pledged.

The President appears determined to ensure that most key projects are not only completed and commissioned on time but also enrich his legacy.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i with Nyanza regional commissioner James Kianda, Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo and Nyanza police Commander Vincent Makhoha when they visited the Rapid Deployment Unit in Songho, Muhoroni subcounty, Kisumu.
INSPECTION: Interior CS Fred Matiang'i with Nyanza regional commissioner James Kianda, Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo and Nyanza police Commander Vincent Makhoha when they visited the Rapid Deployment Unit in Songho, Muhoroni subcounty, Kisumu.

The President has ordered Cabinet secretaries, Principal Secretaries and parastatal heads to tour development projects and personally take charge of their progress -17 months to the end of his term.

The officials are auditing progress, identifying challenges including funding gaps if any. They will then give the Cabinet proposals to remedy problems.

Speaking in Mombasa on Wednesday, for instance, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said revival of the Liwatoni fishing complex means a lot to President Kenyatta because it is key to strengthening the blue economy.

“Our President has insisted we not only deliver the project but also ensure it is properly implemented and we are responsive to the challenges and needs of our people,” Matiang’i said.

The CS said various teams will be touring most parts of the country in the next one month before preparing a comprehensive report that will inform budgetary decisions ahead of preparing the 2021-22 budget.

That budget will provide the most resources to complete Uhuru's legacy projects before the general elections next year.

The President does not want to initiate new projects, it is said.

Last week he warned his critics in government to resign and quit, rather than attack the Jubilee administration's performance from within. He spoke while inspecting development projects in Nairobi.

Without mentioning Ruto by name, the President accused him of criticising the government out of one side of his mouth, while taking credit for state projects from the other side.

"If you are praising it [government] stay in, if you are dissatisfied, get out," Uhuru said of Ruto's tendency to both enumerate Jubilee's track record in his rallies but criticise it as well.

The DP has been claiming that Jubilee functioned well in the first term and laid the foundation for economic take-off, rolling out multi-billion infrastructural projects.

Jubilee's second term, however, has been paralysed by the handshake between the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga, Ruto says.

The CSs and their PSs have split themselves into groups touring the country, focusing on incomplete projects.

They are piling pressure on contractors to hurry up and deliver on time, apparently to assuage disgruntled voters in his support bases.

The President's all-out campaign to demonstrate his government's record is hot in the heels of a stinging public letter by then Senate Whip Irungu Kang'ata over dissatisfaction in Mt Kenya.

In December last year, Kang'ata had argued BBI was unpopular in Mt Kenya because the residents had not benefited from government projects and the region's economic mainstays had collapsed.

From Sunday, the President's Cabinet has been deployed.

On Wednesday, Interior CS Matiang'i, who chairs the powerful Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee, was overseeing the tours.

He led a team to Mombasa to inspect the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex upgrade project and also commissioned deep-sea fishing boats worth Sh60 million for Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu counties.

Enviroment CS Keriako Tobiko, Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma and Industrialisation CS Betty Maina were in Machakos to inspect development projects, including the 7.8km Community-Syokimau road.

The contractor was reprimanded for being behind schedule.

Public Service CS Prof Margaret Kobia.
KOBIA: Public Service CS Prof Margaret Kobia.

On Tuesday, Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohammed (Sports), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Simon Chelugui (Labour) and Sicily Kariuki (Water) toured the Northern Water Collection Tunnel and announced that it will be commissioned before mid-year.

Interior PS Karanja Kibicho is the chairperson of the technical committee of principal secretaries and in charge of their tours.

PSs Paul Maringa, Peter Tum, Nicholas Muraguri and Safina Kwekwe, Macharia Kamau, Saitoti Torome, Julius Korir and Kevit Desani have also been inspecting projects.

On Wednesday political risk analyst Dismas Mokua told the Star the President is racing against time to ensure his pledges are met.

“It is a race against time to put things in order especially after falling out with Ruto who had been the face of the projects in the first term,” Mokua said.

The analyst said the President's handlers had realised that most of the development projects were behind schedule and therefore risked stalling ahead of the elections.

“The element of BBI cannot be ignored as the President is being strategic to have the CSs also market the BBI at the grassroots as they tour development projects,” Mokua said

During the first term of their Jubilee administration, Uhuru gave Ruto a lot of latitude to tour development projects across the country and commission those completed, giving the DP a massive advantage.

However, since his handshake with ODM boss Raila Odinga, Uhuru ties with Ruto have soured and the DP has been shoved from the heart of government. He has virtually no responsibilities.

If projects are being completed, Uhuru hopes he can turn the tables on his critics saying the handshake trumped development.


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