Kenyan President William Ruto on Tuesday named his first cabinet after winning a divisive election in August and defending his narrow victory in the country’s highest court.
Ruto, who defeated his opponent Raila Odinga by some 200,000 votes, unveiled his new administration after calling the 26 ministers and cabinet-level appointees to a meeting at State House.
Among those appointed were political allies whose support helped ensure Ruto, who served as deputy president in the former government, took the top job after an acrimonious campaign.
The president thanked those who “worked and walked this journey to victory”.
“Because of their contribution, because of their decision to work with us under very difficult circumstances, we won this election,” Ruto told reporters.
Musalia Mudavadi, whose party forged an alliance with Ruto, was named prime cabinet secretary, answering directly to the president and his deputy.
Alfred Mutua, a former governor whose party also sided with Ruto, was named foreign minister.
Kithure Kindiki, a lawyer who served on the legal team that defended Ruto’s win in the Supreme Court, was appointed cabinet secretary of the powerful interior ministry.
Former central bank governor Njuguna Ndung’u was appointed treasurer.
Ruto did not achieve gender parity in his team as promised on the campaign trail, naming just seven women in his 22-member cabinet.
However, a number of women were elevated to senior positions, including Monica Juma, a former foreign minister, who was named national security adviser.
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I have trust in their competence and suitability to execute their duties and implement our PLAN that millions of Kenyans voted for. pic.twitter.com/pban9mY59D
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) September 27, 2022
Ruto also said the country’s two highest-ranking police officials, Inspector General Hilary Mutyambai and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, had both resigned.
The president faces a daunting task to unite the country after a bitter election campaign and easing the hardship felt by ordinary Kenyans as prices for basic goods soar.
A former chicken seller turned millionaire businessman, Ruto beat his rival Odinga by less than two percentage points in the August 9 poll.
Odinga had the backing of former president Uhuru Kenyatta, who served two terms in office with Ruto as his deputy until a public falling out.