In Summary
  • The first term was dominated by the shadow of Deputy President William Ruto in his footsteps and, arguably, decision making, which is certainly much less so now.
  • It can be argued that President Kenyatta’s second term is paying the price of this spending binge in his first and crowding out the ability for greater service delivery.

With less than two years into President Kenyatta’s second and final term and three more to go, there is a marked difference in his style compared to the first.

He is more assertive and a little more decisive. The first term was dominated by the shadow of Deputy President William Ruto in his footsteps and, arguably, decision making, which is certainly much less so now. There were times when one could be mistaken into thinking that Mr Ruto was steering the ship even though President Kenyatta was the captain.

A noticeable effect of this change has been the President’s appointment of a much more professional team. There is a more technocratic feel to the Cabinet and other senior posts.

We review the progress of these appointees with a much more appraising eye with a number of them seen as go-getters and achievers who are certainly making their stewardship felt.

Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji is an example. Prof George Magoha’s brief tenure at the Education ministry has been marked by a skilled and knowledgeable handling of its onerous and complex affairs.

APPOINTMENTS

But will the President reinforce this stance with more professional appointments, particularly in dockets where there is a feeling that performance is below par?

The track record in economic policy is more mixed. On one hand, the reappointment of Dr Patrick Njoroge for a second term as Central Bank of Kenya Governor reinforces the government’s determination to continue the path of prudent monetary stability. But the fiscal side is less rosy.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich is squeezed between a rock and a hard place. Much of his time has been spent spreading a thin layer of money over the national and county governments, most of it spent on salaries and wages while funds for actual goods and services are totally inadequate.

This has been a perennial challenge, but one can argue that not enough is being done to redress the imbalance. We’ve certainly seen stabs at it with the likes of Dr Fred Matiang’i, but not much of a trend running through government.

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