Why Mudavadi's new roles put him at the centre of State power

Mudavadi becomes the country's focal point for Kenya's foreign policy.

In Summary
  • The move to allocate Mudavadi an extra docket of Foreign and Diaspora affairs has been viewed as a show of confidence in the Prime CS. 
  • He will run the ministry in addition to running normal duties as Prime Cabinet Secretary.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi taking his oath of office on Thursday, October 27,2022.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi taking his oath of office on Thursday, October 27,2022.
Image: FILE/ANDREW KASUKU

President William Ruto on Wednesday announced his first Cabinet reshuffle after one year in office.

In the changes affecting eight CSs and PSs, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi was entrusted with an extra mandate of managing Kenya's Foreign and Diaspora Affairs ministry.

The move to allocate Mudavadi an extra docket of Foreign and Diaspora affairs has been viewed as a show of confidence in the Prime CS.

He will run the ministry in addition to running normal duties as Prime Cabinet Secretary.

The appointment now means Mudavadi becomes one of the most powerful individuals in Ruto's government owing to the fact that he will now be sitting at the National Security Council. 

The National Security Council is the President’s principal forum for national security and foreign policy decision-making.

The council brings together the President, the Deputy President, the Cabinet Secretary responsible for defence, the Cabinet Secretary responsible for foreign affairs and the Cabinet Secretary responsible for internal security.

Others are the Attorney-General, the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service and the Inspector-General of the National Police Service.

Mudavadi’s long experience, having served as Cabinet minister during the Moi and Kibaki era will be key in projecting, promoting and protecting Kenya’s interests and image globally.

As the man in charge of Foreign affairs, Mudavadi becomes the country's focal point for Kenya's foreign policy.

He will be required to ensure that Kenya’s foreign policy agenda on a peaceful, prosperous and globally competitive Kenya is realized.

The appointment also brings Mudavadi close to Ruto as he is now the President's principal advisor on foreign matters.

More often, he will be engaging the president on matters concerning foreign policy.

Mudavadi will also remain with most of the duties assigned to him under Executive Order No. 1 of 2023 by President William Ruto.

The Cabinet changes by Ruto also come a few days after the Head of Public Service Felix Koskei announced the suspension of certain categories of Foreign Travel as well as cutting down on delegations accompanying state officers on such travels.

These changes affected the President, his deputy and the Prime CS, who were also expected to cut down their travel teams by up to 50 per cent.

Ministries were also directed to reduce their travel budgets by at least 10 per cent.  

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was mandated with approving all travel plans for state officers including writing to foreign missions to facilitate Visa issuance to such officers.

"In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs is directed to rationalise the number of personnel accompanying each of the principals, and reduce the same by fifty per cent," Koskei said.

With the new assignment, Mudavadi will now be calling the shots as far as the new policy is concerned.

Ruto will be banking on him to ensure State officers adhere to the directive and that foreign travel expenditure is reduced.

Reacting to the new assignment, Mudavadi exuded confidence that he was up to the task.

"I am fully aware of the significance of my dual role, and I embrace the opportunity with a profound sense of duty and dedication.

"I pledge to continue serving the people of Kenya and our country with unwavering commitment, integrity, and diligence I will champion, pursue, and protect the interests of Kenyans, both within our borders and abroad," Mudavadi said.

Mudavadi served as Finance Minister between 1993 and 1997, where he helped turn around the country’s economy which was on its deathbed.

It is during his tenure in Finance that he is credited with helping stop the Goldenberg looting scandal at the Central Bank of Kenya.

He also spearheaded the restoration of bilateral and multilateral aid, the establishment of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the autonomy of the Central Bank of Kenya, which helped set the ground for the legal foundation for managing domestic debt among other key achievements.

He had also served as Minister for Supplies and Marketing.

Mudavadi went on to serve in the Agriculture docket, Information, Transport and Communication, Transport and communication, and later as vice president and deputy prime minister, doubling up as minister for Local government.

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