President Ruto’s Big Headache: Who To Appoint As The Next Prime Minister 

Upon Musalia Mudavadi’s appointment as the third PM in Kenya’s history, there will be a vacancy in the position of the Prime Cabinet Secretary, which the National Dialogue Committee recommended to be entrenched in the Constitution. Ruto’s big headache again will be the appointment of the new Prime Cabinet Secretary. Several names are being mentioned as possible successors to Mudavadi, they include ICT CS Eliud Owallo, former Nairobi Governor Evans, State House Comptroller Katoo Ole Metito, CS Soipan Tuya and East African legislative assembly MP, Omar Hassan among others

By The Weekly Vision Team

When the National Dialogue Committee co-chairs, Kalonzo Musyoka and Kimani Ichungwa, released their eagerly awaited report, some Kenyans were surprised by the recommendation to create the office of Prime Minister. A source within the dialogue committee told The Weekly Vision that it was a case of give-and-take between the Kenya Kwanza Coalition and the Azimio Coalition. The source said, “Both sides were eager for a win-win situation when drafting the final product.” The creation of the PM position was a proposal pushed by the Kenya Kwanza Coalition, and sources say it was President William Ruto’s proposal that was meant to achieve a certain political goal and objective.

Immediately after receiving the report, President Ruto ordered MPs allied to his side to move with speed and pass the recommendations for immediate and full implementation of the report. However, the Azimio Coalition is sharply divided over the report, with Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua and former CS Eugene Wamalwa opposing the final report. President Ruto’s big gamble now is his choice for the position of Prime Minister. It is not clear at the moment if parliament will go ahead and amend the proposal to create the position of deputy prime minister.

As per the recommendation, the president is supposed to nominate the PM and forward the name to Parliament for approval. The big question, however, is: who will it be? Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi is being seen as a front-runner for the post. Politically speaking, Ruto has always had a soft spot for Mudavadi, and there are all indications that he will be elevated to be the county’s third prime minister after Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.

The expected elevation of Mr Mudavadi, according to analysts, will be to lock the Luhya community into the Kenya Kwanza administration heading into the 2027 elections. Secondly, his appointment will be to further checkmate Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua as far as those elections are concerned and the William Ruto succession race in 2032.

Taking into consideration the level of rebellion in the Mount Kenya region against President Ruto, elevating Mudavadi to the position of PM will counter the rebellion, as this will send warning signals to Mount Kenya that Ruto has an option from Western Kenya. It is important to note that the majority of Mount Kenya MPs will not be willing to vote for Mudavadi as the PM nominee, but they will be whipped to do so, and considering that even the majority of ODM has a rapport with Mudavadi, his appointment will be approved overwhelmingly by parliament.

Upon his appointment as the third PM, there will be a vacancy in the position of Prime Cabinet Secretary, which, again, the National Dialogue Committee recommended be entrenched in the Constitution. Ruto’s big headache again will be the appointment of the Prime Cabinet Secretary. Several names are being mentioned as possible successors to Mudavadi, but Ruto could also pull a big surprise and appoint someone who is not even in the minds of Kenyans.

What is clear is that, for the sake of regional balance, the Prime Cabinet Secretary cannot be from the Mount Kenya region, Rift Valley, or western Kenya. Already, the top three positions in the executive are occupied by Ruto (Kalenjin), Gachagua (Kikuyu), and Mudavadi (Luhya). Regions that are now angling to get the Prime Cabinet Secretary position are Nyanza, Ukambani, Maasai, Coast, North Eastern, and Nairobi. Analysts say Ruto has the option of elevating ICT CS Eliud Owallo to the position of Prime Cabinet Secretary. This could be done to endear him to Nyanza and, particularly, Luo voters. It is worth noting that through Owallo’s influence, Kenya Kwanza has managed to make political inroads in the ODM stronghold of Luo Nyanza.

The second option for President Ruto is to appoint former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to the post. Kidero’s appointment would be to checkmate Raila Odinga in Luo Nyanza and to ensure the South Nyanza regions of Homa Bay and Migori counties drift towards Kenya Kwanza.

For the Maasai community, Ruto could appoint the State House Comptroller, Katoo Ole Metito, to the position of Prime Cabinet Secretary to bring the Maasai community on board. Still in the Maasai region, Ruto could also play the gender card, elevate Environment CS Soipan Tuya, and make her Prime Cabinet Secretary. Analysts say that Ruto will ensure the new Prime Cabinet Secretary does not have presidential ambitions and that he or she must not be in competition with Mudavadi. Considering that the top three executives (President, Deputy President, and PM) will be men, Ruto can easily elevate Tuya for the sake of gender balance.

Also on Ruto’s cards is to have a new Prime Cabinet Secretary from Ukambani to checkmate Kalonzo Musyoka, who will be the deputy leader of the official opposition. Can Ruto elevate CS Alfred Mutua to take over from Mudavadi, or will it be the former Makueni Governor, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana? Another name from Ukambani is that of Narc leader and former Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu. Although she has taken sabbatical leave on matters of politics, she recently visited Mudavadi at his offices, where they held lengthy discussions, though the details remain scanty.

Analysts say that with all indications that Kalonzo will be the Azimio presidential flag bearer in 2027, President Ruto may need a strong team from Ukambani to counter his political influence. The president is most likely to regroup Mutua, Kibwana, and Ngilu to do the groundwork for him.

In the coast region, the most senior Ruto appointees are Senate Speaker Amason Kingi and Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa. As to whether Ruto can elect Jumwa to the position of Prime Cabinet secretary, it is not likely.

The East African legislative assembly MP, Omar Hassan, is another option Ruto has for the position. Omar is a close ally of Ruto and was a member of the National Dialogue Committee. He ran for the Mombasa gubernatorial seat and lost, but he has also served as a Mombasa senator. He enjoys political backing from the region and is now the only firebrand politician Ruto relies on from the coastal region.

However, the president can also do the unthinkable and appoint ODM deputy party leader Hassan Joho to the position. Joho is a political household name in the region and can easily turn the tables on ODM if he decides to join Kenya Kwanza.

In the Kisii region, Ruto has the education of CS Ezekiel Machogu, whom he can also elevate to be the PCS. Other names from Kisii being flouted are those of former Ksii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi. He has been appointed as Chief Administrative Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He is also a close ally of Ruto and has been in the political cold.