Chirchir, Kuria & Murkomen: Ruto CSs Who Hit Headlines in 2023

President William Ruto, upon assuming office, appointed a cabinet comprising trusted allies to execute his promised agenda and policies. 

However, several members have since been in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Some of them are facing scandals with questions about their competence hanging over their heads. takes a look at the cabinet secretaries who made news for the better part of the year.

Moses Kuria

No Cabinet Secretary in the Kenya Kwanza government quite made headlines this year than the man from Gatundu.

Kuria, who was initially appointed to the Trade docket courted all sorts of controversy including telling Kenyans disillusioned by the high prices of fuel to dig their own wells.

The former MP was also involved in a scandal, where the Ministry of Trade, through the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC), is alleged to have imported Ksh17 billion worth of edible oil into the country without paying taxes.

Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria speaking during a meeting with Commission on Administrative Justice (Office of the Ombudsman) on November 21, 2023


Moses Kuria

When a local media house broke the story, Kuria went on a foul-mouthed rant against the stable including hurling expletives at the journalists who dared to question the deal’s finer details.

As his unhinged nature continued to become a problem, President William Ruto started leaving him out of key trade talks with foreign powers.

When she made a trip to Kenya, senior US Trade Representative Katherine Tai declined to meet with Kuria.

President Ruto would later transfer him from the influential Trade docket to Public Service and handed over his previous post to Rebecca Miano.

Davis Chirchir

Davis Chirchir, the Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary, has come under intense scrutiny this year over a myriad of issues in his ministry including; frequent blackouts and the high cost of electricity and fuel.

On December 10, the country, for the third time in 3 months, was plunged into darkness, disrupting businesses and economic activities across the country.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir (centre) and Economist Dr David Ndii during a presser on March 13, 2023.

Ministry of Energy

CS Chirchir would later in a press conference attribute the latest outage to an overload on the Kisumu- Muhoroni Line.

The CS hinted at plans to start rationing electricity to stop a similar occurrence from happening in the future.

A few months prior, Chirchir came under serious criticism over his remarks before the National Dialogue Committee,  where he suggested that fuel prices would reach Ksh 300 per litre due to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u

Prof. Ndung’u, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary has also been put on the spot over the country’s poor economic situation.

The two biggest criticisms levelled against Prof. Ndungu included the fast depreciation of the Kenyan Shilling which saw the local currency hit Ksh153 against the dollar in December.

Initially, the government had exuded confidence that the Shilling would stabilise once the interventions initiated by the State kicked in. However, this never materialised.

Ndung’u has also been scapegoated for the failure of the government-to-government fuel importation deal agreed with two Gulf firms.

When announcing the deal, President Ruto claimed that the transaction would be done in Kenyan Shillings, to cut out foreign exchange costs and to align it with the government’s plan to dedollarise.

As economic experts had predicted, the deal did not have the desired effect with fuel prices at a record high while the Shilling continued to shed against the dollar.

In the same vein, Ndung’u was in early December criticised by members of the ruling party for revealing that Kenya is broke and running on fumes.

The CS, while appearing before MPs stated that the cash crunch was making it difficult to finance government operations.

Kipchumba Murkomen

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, a close ally of President William Ruto has also been widely criticised over what many consider to be underperformance and a series of mishaps in his docket.

Top of the list of grievances against Murkomen are three blackouts at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) that occurred in a span of 3 months.

After the first blackout, CS Murkomen fired the then Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Managing Director Alex Gitari over alleged incompetence. The CS vowed that such an outage would never occur again.

However, several weeks down the line, the same happened, leaving passengers stranded at the national airport.

The blackout was allegedly caused by the failure of generators to kick in after the country experienced a nationwide power outage.

The same happened for the third time in December leading Murkomen to invite the police to conduct investigations, alleging sabotage.

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen conducts a meeting with taxi-hailing operators at his office on December 7, 2023


Kipchumba Murkomen

CS Murkomen’s performance has also been questioned after passengers using JKIA complained of leaking roofs.

Murkomen’s defence was that the previous administration had neglected the facility and presided over shoddy workmanship by a contractor tapped to upgrade the international Airport.

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