Kenya’s foreign minister moved in cabinet reshuffleThu, 05 Oct 2023 13:05:48 GMT

Kenyan President William Ruto has made the first changes to his cabinet in a reshuffle that moved allies from key positions amid growing disenchantment over broken promises and economic hardship. Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua, who has been a vocal supporter of Kenya sending police on a peacekeeping mission to violence-plagued Haiti, was moved to tourism. In his place, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi saw his portfolio expanded to include  foreign affairs. The changes — coming weeks after Ruto accused some of his ministers of incompetence — were meant to “optimise performance and service delivery”, Ruto’s office said in a statement late Wednesday. Trade Minister Moses Kuria, a former MP who has courted controversy over a number of derogatory remarks, was reassigned to the public service post. In June, Kuria was at the centre of a firestorm when he launched a tirade against a leading media outlet and threatened government officials who advertised there with dismissal.Kuria was snubbed by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai when she visited Nairobi in July and was missing during the president’s last two visits to Washington. Kuria will be replaced by Rebecca Miano who was in charge of relations with the regional bloc East African Community.- ‘Writing on the wall’ -Kiprotich arap Cherargei, a senator from the ruling party and close ally of Ruto, said the changes were “necessitated by performance”.”The writing is on the wall for the non-performing cabinet secretaries and those who perpetuate corruption and lethargy in their ministries,” he posted on X, formally called Twitter.During the last year’s election campaign, Ruto portrayed himself as a champion of the poor but has been widely accused of breaking promises.This week he directed ministries to cut spending by 10 percent and capped foreign travel for state officers, with public debt rising to $68.9 billion.Kenyans already face rising prices for many staple goods, a string of new or increased taxes and a plunging shilling.The cost of fuel in Kenya hit a record high last month with media reporting the government is considering further tax hikes, including raising VAT and duties targeting farmers and car owners.A series of opposition protests against Ruto’s government and his economic policies were staged this year, some descending into deadly violence.