Kenyan President Ruto fires almost entire cabinet


The news

NAIROBI — Kenya’s beleaguered president Willem Ruto fired nearly all members of his cabinet on Thursday, following weeks of youth-led protests across the country.

The exception was the Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadiwho kept his job, making him the most senior government official after the presidency and the speaker of parliament. Mudavadi will also continue to serve as the country’s foreign minister.

Ruto attributed the mass layoffs to the protests and the resulting withdrawal of his government’s controversial finance law, which he said had brought the country to “a turning point”.

The resignation of the cabinet was one of the main demands of the protesters. Ruto said he had taken time to reflect on and evaluate the performance of his ministers. Many of the cabinet secretaries are close political allies of Ruto, who supported his successful bid for the presidency in 2022. But allegations of government corruption have turned public sentiment against several cabinet members.

“Even with the progress we have made, I am fully aware that the people of Kenya have very high expectations of me and they believe that this government can deliver the most comprehensive transformations in the history of our country,” Ruto said at State House in Nairobi, as he sacked his cabinet “with immediate effect”.

Knowing more

Ruto had previously made concessions to the protesters, including scrapping the first lady’s official budget, announcing the planned dissolution of 47 state agencies and suspending the purchase of new government vehicles and non-essential travel for government workers.

He also announced a week-long national multisectoral dialogue, with 150 participants from various interest groups. The plan was support from the opposition on Tuesday, but has generally been rejected by protesters who say they only want their demands met.

They have planned a major nationwide protest for Tuesday, July 16, a day after the dialogue forum is scheduled to begin. Protesters have also demanded Ruto’s resignation.

Step back

The protests, which have left dozens of people dead in clashes with security agents, were initially sparked by opposition to tax increases in the finance law.

The demonstrations continued despite the president’s decision to withdraw the bill last month. Moody’s downgraded Kenya’s sovereign debt ratings this week, citing the government’s inability to implement “significant revenue-raising measures in the near future.”

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