Friday, 23rd September – Good morning! This is your daily edition of our brief, but salient Kenyan news properly selected for you.
Headache as Ruto Crafts His Cabinet
President William Ruto has revealed that he will retain Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) positions, this telling the delicate balance the Head of State has to strike as the crafts his Cabinet. CAS posts are usually dominated by losers and political rejects.
Insiders in Ruto’s inner circle have disclosed that the President is facing a headache in choosing his Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, and CASs.
The President wants to unveil a list that will be “accepted” by the majority of Kenyans and to achieve this he has to consider gender and regional balance. During the campaigns, Ruto promised that half of the Cabinet will comprise women.
To ensure that all Kenyans feel accommodated in his administration, the President must appoint ministers even in regions where he had little support like Nyanza and Eastern blocs. Doing this, he has to be careful because regions that voted for him cultically might feel the positions belong to them.
Just how greedy are Kenyan MPs? This question’s answer came out on Wednesday when members of the National Assembly refused to be addressed by Lyn Mengich, the Chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) after some of their parks were scrapped.
Despite their high salaries and aware of the bloated wage bill, the parliamentarians insisted that Mengich could only address them if the commission reinstated their Ksh5,000 plenary sitting allowance per session.
The MPs also want the commission to remove the cap on the engine size of their vehicles, which has been set at 3,000cc, and the higher mileage allowance reinstated. Also, they are protesting after the commission put a limit on the number of beneficiaries, who can be included in their comprehensive medical covers.
In a rare show of unity, lawmakers from across the political divide have threatened to reduce SRC’s budgets if their concerns are not addressed.
We Are Not Broke, Treasury CS Says
Reports that the new government of President William Ruto only found Ksh93 million in the coffers are fake and ignorant, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has said.
The Minister said people who made the allegations among them Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei have zero knowledge about how the government works. He explained that the government collects money and spends it almost immediately.
He schooled the likes of Gachagua, telling them that the government does not collect money and stores it when civil servants must be paid their salaries and other State activities must continue running.
Ruto Shines on The Global Stage
President William Ruto made a mark for himself in the international arena after delivering a powerful speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York, United States.
Ruto’s inaugural address on the global stage largely touched on climate change and asked the world to come together to address the disruptions that resulted in drought and food insecurity.
He regretted that there has been little progress in arresting environmental impacts despite a resolution passed earlier this year during the Stockholm+50 climate summit that high-priority actions were needed.
Kenyan Couple Stole Ksh16 Billion From US Government
Francis Kimaru and his wife, Faith Newton – both Kenyans – ran two parallel schemes that saw the US government lose Ksh16 billion.
Kimaru and his wife operated Compassionate Homecare LLC and used the company to file fake claims to benefit from a medical scheme established to help the elderly and poor Americans. Kimaru was arrested in 2016 over the Ksh4.1 billion fraud though he was released after entering into a plea bargain with the US government.
Instead of learning, Faith employed the same tricks to defraud America Ksh12 billion using her Arbor Homecare Services LLC. She used the money to buy expensive cars and houses.
Faith, who is a nurse, is set to undergo trial and if found guilty, she could spend at least 20 years in jail.
Azimio Presents Final List of House Leadership to Speaker
Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, who is the Secretary-General of the Azimio la Umoja, has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula, regarding the coalition’s line-up for House leadership position.
Junet said Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi is the Majority Leader nominee and he will be deputized by Robert Mbui while himself will take the Majority Whip position and his deputy will be Nominated MP Sabina Wanjiru Chege.
This comes amid protests by Nominated MP John Mbadi, who has accused Raila of betraying him after he was factored out for the position of Majority Leader. Some ODM lawmakers were also said to be against Junet and did not want him to be rewarded, arguing that he is among individuals who played a big role in Raila’s presidential defeat.
ODM leader Raila Odinga has convened a meeting next week to iron out the differences.
Babu Owino, Ole Kina Gang Up Against Raila
Embakasi East MP Babu Owino has lamented after Azimio la Umoja failed to consider him for the Chairmanship of the powerful National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Taking his frustrations on his social media platforms, the second-term lawmaker claimed that the post had been reserved for him, but he has been shortchanged and the position given to Nominated MP John Mbadi.
He accused the leadership of his ODM party led by Raila Odinga of treating the youths with contempt despite sacrificing their time and resources to build the outfit.
Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina, who also wanted to become Senate Minority Leader, but the position was taken by his Kilifi counterpart Stewart Madzayo said they will not allow the party to continue disrespecting them. Ole Kina and Owino are expected to meet soon to chart the way forward.
Gachagua Releases Cheap Fertilizer
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua yesterday flagged off a consignment of 2,600 bags of subsidized fertilizer, which will be distributed in South Rift, Nairobi, Coast, Eastern, and North Eastern between October and December during the short rains.
However, Gachagua said the government will avail not less than 1.4 million 50kg bags of the fertilizer, which will be selling at Ksh2500, down from Ksh6,000.
“The government remains committed to achieving sustainable agricultural growth and transforming agriculture as one of the pillars of our economic recovery plan,” said the DP.
Women Warned Against Chinese Birth Control Pill
The Ministry of Health has sounded an alarm to women using Sophia, a Chinese drug disguised as one of the pills for family planning.
National Family Planning Programme manager, Dr. Albert Ndwiga said the oral contraceptive pill is dangerous and its side effects can result in serious health problems. The drug is taken once every month and was banned in Kenya a decade ago, but it has made its way back to the market.
Ndwiga explained that the ministry has carried out tests and established Sophia has higher levels of hormones levonorgestrel and quenestrol, the two components that make up the normal contraceptive pill.
Texting Exposition Among Students
Between March and May this year when learners were on a long holiday, the texting craze pushed the SMS traffic by three billion units.
Data from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) shows that there were Ksh13.9 billion SMS in the three months leading to June, up from 10.9 billion in the Quarter to March.
CAK indicated that students found it easier to text each other rather than make calls or use other applications to communicate. Texting is easy since one can send his message whether using a smartphone or a feature phone.