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Bilateral discussions with the delegation from Cuba

Deputy President William Ruto hosted a delegation from Cuba led by Vice President of the Councils of State Ines María Chapman Waugh for bilateral talks.
The leaders of the two countries said they were keen on strengthening relations and cooperation for the benefit of the two countries by improving the social welfare of their citizens.
Speaking during a joint press briefing at the Deputy President’s residence, Karen, Dr Ruto said Kenya would continue to cooperate with Cuba in the expansion of the health sector, one of the pillars of the Big Four agenda.
“We have had important bilateral discussions with the delegation from Cuba on important issues in the fields of health, agriculture, fisheries, trade, human resource management and water among other areas,” said Dr Ruto.
He said Kenya and Cuba would work together in the expansion of training of doctors, nurses, and community health workers on family health as part of the efforts to transform the sector.

During talks with Ines Maria Chapman The Vice President of the Cuban Council of State and of Ministers at Karen office Nairobi County“You are all aware that 100 Cuban doctors are helping our people in various parts of the country while our 50 doctors are doing postgraduate courses in Cuba,” said Dr Ruto.
He said the Cuban doctors have so far attended to more than 300,000 people since they arrived in the country almost a year ago, adding that Kenya was drawing lessons from the Caribbean nation in preventive and curative health.
Ms Maria was accompanied by among others Amb Armando Vergara Bueno, Deputy Director of the General Division for Bilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cuban Amb to Kenya Ernesto Gomez Diaz among others.
Dr Ruto said the two countries have agreed to expedite the malaria vector control as part of the efforts to contain the disease in the country.
“The malaria control programme will soon be rolled out once the Attorney General’s office and the Treasury finalize on some few issues,” said Dr Ruto.
He added that Cuba has excelled in agriculture, saying Kenya will borrow valuable lessons that would ensure the country is food secure.
“Cuba is also working with Kenya Medical Research Institute with a move to coming up with vaccines for Hepatitis B, HIV/Aids, diabetic foods among others to contain the spread of these diseases,” said Dr Ruto.
Ms Waugh, on her part, praised the cordial relations between the two countries, saying it would go a long way in the improvement of lives of people in the two nations.
“We will continue working together in efforts to come up with anti-malaria vaccines among other issues that we have discussed,” said Ms Waugh.
She said Cuba was impressed with the manner in which M-pesa was transforming the lives of Kenyans, saying they would explore ways of replicating the same economic venture in her country.
“The way in which mobile money transfer, M-Pesa is working and transforming peoples lives is encouraging. We will explore ways of replicating the same in our country,” said Ms Waugh.
Present were Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga, chairperson, Parliamentary Committee on Health Sabina Chege among others.

The fight against corruption

Deputy President William Ruto has urged professionals to rise up and take the lead in the fight against corruption in the country.

Dr Ruto said it is time professionals promoted ethics and integrity in the public service as they drive their agenda and policies.

He said professionals should be at the forefront in advocating for ethical practices in the society.

Speaking when he officially opened the First Inter-Professionals Summit held in Mombasa, the Deputy President said professionals should carry out their duties besides taking decisions efficiently if the country is to be free from graft.

During the official opening of the First Inter professional summit in Shanzu Mombasa County

“Corruption is to blame on professionals who fail to execute their work efficiently. As professionals, we should provide professional pieces of advice and decisions as they drive agenda and policies,” said Dr Ruto.

“It is true to state that by and large, our most vexing problems as a nation have a strong professional component. And they relate to our professionals failing to rise to their highest standard and full potential,” added the Deputy President.

He told the Summit whose theme was “The Future of Professionals” that the country’s human resource capital is highly regarded worldwide and, therefore, should be the biggest contributor to driving public service, national development and national discourse.

“It is inevitable, therefore, that professionals are expected to be the biggest drivers in all matters pertaining to the common good, public welfare and national service,” said Dr Ruto.

Present were professionals drawn from the Law Society of Kenya, Institute of Certified Secretaries, Institute of Human Resource Management, Kenya Institute of Supplies Management and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), among others.

MPs Ali Mbogo (Kisauni), Mathias Robi (Kuria West), Stanley Muthama (Lamu West), Sheriff Athman (Lamu East and Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango) accompanied the Deputy President.

The Deputy President noted that a large portion of blame for shortcomings being experienced in the country might be seen as failures attributable to professionals and professional organisations.

“When we talk about corruption, we may move from broad generalities and begin to examine the role of specific professionals in the mechanics of every corrupt incident,” said Dr Ruto.

He said the judicial corruption involves wayward lawyers on the bar and on the bench, adding that a bad decision procured for a valuable reward requires lawyers willing to negotiate terms and coordinate modalities by which the justice will be perverted.

“Corruption involving misappropriation, embezzlement of public funds entails an understanding among and between accountants, auditors, economists and such like professionals to see to it that budgets are diverted and misused,” said Dr Ruto.

Similarly, the Deputy President said, bad roads are a direct consequence of corrupt dealings involving engineers who may compromise designs, or be lax in supervising works, or permit shortcuts to be taken, or approve substandard work as completed and due for payment.

“We cannot run away from the fact that professionals face many challenges. Lecturers who award grades on the basis of inappropriate relations, engineers who approve substandard and dangerous structures, putting many innocent lives at risk from possible collapse, as well as costly, substandard works,” he said.

He singled out lawyers who formulate instruments and other arrangements, including legal opinions that become conduits in the theft of public resources and auditors who sign off cooked books that end up legitimizing misappropriation of public and private resources as some of the engagements that lead to corruption.

“Accountants who manipulate numbers, occasioning loss of value in the public and private sectors, surveyors and planners who facilitate expropriation of public land in shoddy and corrupt schemes, human resource managers who skew interviews and promotions and sacrifice merit at the shrine of tribalism, and qualification on the altar of nepotism are to blame for corruption,” said Dr Ruto.

He added: “Judges who auction justice to the highest bidder, consigning innocent people to untold suffering and media practitioners who file fake stories influenced by ‘brown envelopes ‘are part of the mess in this country.”

Harriet Chiggai, Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Vice Chairperson said the professionals’ body should put in place policies that would sustain the organization.

“As professionals we should take the lead in helping the government address challenges such as runaway corruption among other problems facing us as a nation,” said Ms Chiggai.

ICPAK CEO Patrick Ngumi and his LSK counterpart Mercy Wambua called for closer working relations between the government and the professional body in addressing challenges facing the country.

They called for ways of eliminating quacks in various fields, saying they were tarnishing the image of various professions.

Meanwhile, the Deputy President said there have been attempts to profile the political war against some personalities including him.

He said this has affected many individuals and government programmes.

“There has also been an attempt to hijack the war on corruption and turn it into a war against specific individuals. In the attempt to wage this convoluted version of the war on corruption, many government programmes and projects, as well as many innocent public servants have become casualties,” said Dr Ruto.

He said he’s surprised that there are people who have a problem with his assertion that the war on corruption must be fact-led and evidence–based in accordance with the law.

He wondered why some people have a problem with the truth, facts, evidence and with the law in the fight against corruption, saying the war on corruption is an integrity war.

“A war on corruption that lacks integrity ceases to be a war on corruption and becomes corruption itself. Integrity war that lack integrity is impunity. An integrity war waged selectively, using convenient half-truths, with political outcomes in mind, is impunity,” said Dr Ruto.

The Africa Now Conference 2019, Kampala, Uganda

African countries need to reposition technology as a driver of economic growth, Deputy President William Ruto has said.

He said technology is a prime enabler of sustainable competitiveness, with the power to elevate African countries to middle-income level.

Dr Ruto noted that countries can embrace modern technology by investing in education and training, beginning by aligning the needs of the private sector “vis-a-vis what our youth are taught”.

DP Dr William Ruto in Kampala Uganda for the Africa Now Conference 2019
“A suitably reoriented technology should impart leadership, digital and soft skills in every young person going through the education system,” he said.

The Deputy President spoke on Tuesday in Munyonyo, Uganda, during the Africa Now Summit 2019.

Leaders attending the two-day conference, whose theme is “Towards a secure, integrated and growing Africa” are Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Uganda Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

Others are Tanzania Vice President Samia Suluhu, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Mukhisa Kituyi and Chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Tony Elumelu.

Having appreciated the power of technology in furthering growth, Dr Ruto said Kenya was scaling up training and support for innovation by financing and facilitating market access for young people to create, collaborate, test and improve concepts.
“This is how vibrant tech hubs arise, survive and drive structural change,” he noted.

At the same time, Dr Ruto urged African leaders to refine their education to focus on science, technology and innovation.

He said the move would help align training with market needs and to the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  

He told the conference that Kenya was already implementing the “most ambitious programme on human capital development, focused on technical and vocational training”.

“This has seen an increase in the number of technical and vocational training institutions by close to 300 in the last four years,” said the Deputy President. 

He added that for the first time since independence, the number of students enrolling in technical institutions in Kenya exceeded those joining universities.

But for these dreams to be made true in Africa, Dr Ruto called on African countries to accommodate the new maturity in political contestation in the continent.

He further noted that leaders need to uphold the rule of law, expression and assembly both online and in public spaces. 

“Transparency is no longer an empty aspiration externally demanded, but is informing movements led by Kenya and others, for a true ethic of openness and civic participation in governance. We can forge a stable, peaceful, prosperous future for our youth without fear,” he said.

President Museveni said despite the continent being dotted by many think-tanks, most of them are after pushing the interests of the West “and they do not think about Africa”.

He noted that for Africa to be transformed, focus should be put on qualitatives rather than quantitatives.

“Our creativity is being erased and wiped out by cheap, sub-standard colonial imports. We must therefore integrate to further the Africa Rising agenda,” he said.

He challenged African leaders to work towards making the continent stable, observing that Africa cannot talk about transformation when some of the countries still face insecurity.

“Africa can be the engine of the world’s development if we strike out the bottlenecks that hinder free movement of factors of production,” he added.

Ms Suluhu said there was need for more women to be involved in making Africa better. 

“Past experience shows women have the will and power to influence pro-poor policies across the world. As we seek to elevate our countries to the middle-income level, women should be at the centre of it,” she said.

Her sentiments were supported by Eddy Maloka, the chief executive officer of Africa Peer Review Mechanism who noted that there was an urgent need for leaders to work towards the United States of Africa vision.

“This has already started with the amalgamation of countries into economic blocs. This, however, must be supported by a homegrown development recipe by Africa for Africa,” explained Prof Maloka.

MPs accompanying the Deputy President in Uganda are Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West) and David Njuguna (Olkalou).

East Africa Integration, Kampala, Uganda.

Deputy President William Ruto is urging East African leaders to stop trade conflicts in order to grow the region.

Dr Ruto said he was concerned that the progress made in the five-member trading bloc was somehow being undermined by actions of some leaders in the region.

“The East African Community (EAC) is the most progressive economic bloc in the Southern Hemisphere. We have seen tremendous growth among member countries because of the integration,” said the Deputy President.

Dr Ruto East Africa Integration in Kampala Uganda

Speaking in Munyonyo, Uganda, during the Africa Now Summit 2019, Dr Ruto said East African leaders should focus on issues that would make EAC thrive.

He noted that the leaders know what is right, and what is wrong for the bloc, but some of them were indirectly pushing for policies that would hamper integration.

“I do not know what is wrong. We all know what is right, but we are not doing that,” he said.

Dr Ruto said it was unfortunate that some blockades were being put in some borders “yet we should all be busy thinking of how to eliminate work permits...”

“Such actions make us really concerned. We need to accommodate each other and allow the factors of production to move freely across the region.”

The Deputy President asked President Yoweri Museveni to act as a father-figure in providing leadership to make EAC match forward.

“We cannot afford to lose all that we have achieved as a bloc. We need to channel our energies back to making Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania one,” said Dr Ruto.

Create Official Opposition in Parliament

Deputy President William Ruto has proposed the creation of the Official Opposition in Parliament.

He said the current formulation undermines executive accountability and saddles “our democracy with a headless, incoherent and dysfunctional opposition.”

Dr Ruto noted that it was not proper that the leader of a party garnering the second highest votes had no formal constitutional role.

“Elections in Kenya are close-run contest. Often enough, the winner and runner-up achieve more than five million votes. The winner ascends to a formally constituted leadership role while the runner-up becomes a virtual stranger in leadership,” he said while addressing Chatham House, London, on Friday.

Deputy President William Ruto has proposed for the creation and recognition of the official opposition in Parliament

However, the Deputy President said it will be up to Kenyans to decide if they want a change in the constitution.

To tame the winner-takes-all formation, and therefore allow the opposition to actively take part in the running of the country, Dr Ruto proposed an ambitious reconfiguration of the government to comprise the national executive and the official opposition

He said the leader of the party which comes second becomes the leader of the opposition and with his or her running mate, automatically become Members of Parliament, and assume leadership of the Official Opposition.

“This formula should apply at the county level. I further propose that with the Leader of Opposition taking leadership of the opposition in Parliament, the Deputy President should then take over the Leadership of Government Business in Parliament. This should be replicated with the Deputy Governor at the counties,” he added.

He said the Senate should be elevated into an Upper House with Cabinet Secretaries becoming ex-officio Members of Parliament where they can attend a session every week to respond to issues raised.

The Deputy President said the move was aimed at connecting the legislature and the executive and, therefore, boost service delivery to Kenyans.

Dr Ruto, however, insisted that Cabinet Secretaries should not be picked from among the Members of Parliament.

He said despite some challenges such as overlapping and duplication of functions, gains had been made since the promulgation of the constitution in 2010.

“It has placed emphasis on delivery, implementation and taken away the prerogative powers of the executive,” he noted.

Dr Ruto told the audience that the integration of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda into a single market had ushered in a new era where investors would freely move with their goods and services in the five-member bloc with limited restrictions.

He said engagements had started to have a single continental trade body that would further intra-African trade.

“The horizon holds much promise,” he said.