Incoming President William Ruto is expected to name his cabinet any day from Tuesday, September 13, once he is sworn-in.
Ruto will however have a huge task of balancing between political interests and putting the interests of the people before anything else – the selection of the cabinet will not be a walk in the park.
Of interest will be the man or woman who will be tasked with steering the sports docket, a ministry that has seen it all.
Even as Ruto takes over from Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya is still banned by the world football governing body FIFA, among other challenges, slowly killing sports in the country.
President-elect William Ruto addressing residents during a thanks giving prayer in Njoro, Nakuru on Sunday, September 4
Susan Kihika So, who will it be? Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at six potential individuals the incoming president could consider as the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage.
Mike Mbuvi Sonko
Mike Gideon Mbuvi popularly known as Sonko is one of the potential candidates for the Cabinet Secretary of Sports, Culture and Heritage job.
Sonko has previously served as the governor of Nairobi County and the member of parliament for Makadara Constituency.
Apart from holding public offices, Sonko has engaged in numerous sports activities in the country including helping national legends such as Conjestina Ochieng who were left to struggle on their own by the Kenyan government.
Sonko is a close ally of Ruto. In the run-up to the August polls, he joined Kenya Kwanza after it become clear that he was not going to be on the ballot in the Mombasa gubernatorial contest.
Sonko has a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Kenya Methodist University.
The other likely person president-elect William Ruto might pick to improve the ailing sports sector is MacDonald Mariga Wanyama.
Wanyama is without doubt among the most successful Kenyan footballers. He has played for several local and top European clubs including the Italian giants Inter Milan.
Mariga is also the first East African footballer to lift the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy. He did so in May, 2010 with Inter Milan, under the tutelage of current AS Roma manager Jose Mourinho.
In the 2022 elections, he vied for the Kibera constituency parliamentary seat on a United Democratic Party but lost.
Mariga studied at Kamukunji High School. Details of education are not known.
Carol Radull, the only female in this list also has the potential to become Kenya’s Sports, Culture and Heritage CS under the President-elect William Ruto’s administration.
The media personality has a passion for sports and a deep knowledge of the industry.
Details of Radull’s tertiary and secondary education are not known.
Former Kakamega County senator Cleophas Malala is another name that has been mentioned widely as the man who is likely to head the sports ministry in the upcoming administration.
Malala who recently lost the Kakamega gubernatorial race is a close ally of the president-elect. Apart from being a prominent politician, Malala also has a soft spot for sports.
The Friends School Kamusinga Alumni organizes an annual tournament known as the Cleo Malalah Super Cup in his home County.
According to Kenyan football analyst Gregory Mulemi, Malala has what it takes to transform the sports sector in the country.
“We need a CS who is able to understand the Kenyan sports problem and someone who is conversant with the way rules are played. I would vouch for someone like Cleophas Malala, he has passion and knows exactly what is needed to take the game to the next level,” stated Mulemi.
Malala has a Bachelor’s degree from United States International University (USIU).
From left President-elect William Ruto, former CS Rashid Echesa and ex-Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala at the DP’s residence in Karen on Saturday, September 10, 2022.
Rashid Echesa Rashid Echesa
The former Cabinet secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage, Rashid Echesa who is also a close ally of the president-elect could make a return in the upcoming administration.
Echesa who used to be a boxer during his youth days was fired in 2018 from the sports docket by president Muigai Kenyatta during a cabinet reshuffle and he has been in the cold since then.
He recently met the president elect to discuss the post election strategy.
“Economic revival will always be at the top of our agenda as we commence this long awaited journey of liberation. God bless Kenya, stated Echesa after meeting Ruto.
Echesa dropped out of primary school.
Could the president-elect turn to the current Kericho senator Aaron Cheruiyot to streamline the sports sector?
The die hard Arsenal fan also has a passion for sports and has been touted by most football stakeholders as the right man for the job.
Imran Otieno, a Kenyan sports journalist opined that Cheruiyot deserves the post because he has helped nurture talents in the country.
“I think he will do a good job. He held the Senator Cheruiyot Cup which has nurtured a lot of talent, but whoever takes the seat has a mammoth task of streamlining the various federations, more so football who are currently serving a FIFA suspension,” wrote Otieno.
These are just the potential names president-elect William Ruto might pick as the Sports CS when naming his cabinet later this year.
Cheruiyot has a Bachelor of Arts degree in language and literary studies from Moi University.
However, according to Aggrey Chebada, a sports analyst, there are a lot of things that need to be done to transform the sports industry in the country other than just appointing a good Cabinet secretary.
“It is easier to say what needs to be done than to say who should do it.There are many things that need to be done. Number one, the Sports Act needs to be looked at again, it looks as if it has been created in a way that it is beginning to take over sports bodies.
“It is forcing sports bodies to form artificial branches which are of no purpose other than election vehicles. It is beginning to destroy the way sports federations are organized,”
“Second, the federations should make more effort to govern themselves and look for money in the private sector. All of them are now lining up to be given money by the government. You can just be lining up like a beggar when you could find money somewhere else. How can 50 federations be lining up just for handouts from the government?” opined Chebada.
Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot address the press in Parliament