Ruto was reportedly uncomfortable with a verbal advice from State House asking him to resume duties after the Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei acquitted him of multimillion-shilling fraud charges over Ngong Forest.
Ruto ignored a call by Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura to just walk back into his office since the President has cleared his return.“The Head of Public Service called Ruto instructing him to go back to office. This was a rejoinder to a call from the President asking him to report back to work but he has been reluctant,” said a trusted ally of Ruto.
President Kibaki suspended Ruto last October after he was charged with illegal disposal of Ngong Forest land worth Sh272 million to the Kenya Pipeline Company.
The Director of Presidential Press Service Isaya Kabira was not available for comment on Ruto's possible return yesterday.Yesterday the Star reported that Ruto was due to resume his Cabinet duties this week.
Ruto reportedly told Muthaura that his suspension came through a letter from State House and that his return must be formally authorised to avoid controversy. Muthaura reportedly asked Ruto to report back at the Ministry of Higher Education today.
Ruto was nominated to the Cabinet by Prime Minister Raila Odinga as an ODM member under the February 2008 coalition agreement. The ODM is now insisting the National Accord bars Kibaki from unilaterally appointing ODM MPs to the Cabinet. However the Accord says nothing about the re-appointment of a suspended minister.
Four Permanent Secretaries suspended over the maize scandal (Mohamed Isahakia, Ali Mohamed Daudi, Prof Romano Kiome and Caroli Omondi) resumed work after receiving calls from Muthaura's office.
Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua, who receives directions from Muthaura’s office, has already announced that Ruto is free to resume work.
Mutua reportedly met Ruto to advise him that government insiders believe that nothing in law prevents his return to the Cabinet. Ruto has been on Easter holiday in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and was expected back to Nairobi last evening.
The Eldoret North MP is said to be ready to resume work at the Cabinet.But Cherengany MP Joshua Kuttuny said the former minister is not desperate to return to Cabinet. "His supporters will appreciate his return. But it must be clear that William (Ruto) has not been idle to the extent of dying for a Cabinet post," Kuttuny said.
At the weekend several ODM leaders said Ruto’s return was dependent on Raila's go-ahead. Miguna Miguna, the adviser to the PM Raila on constitutional affairs said, “I can confirm to you that there have not been any consultations or a scheduled one between the President and the Prime Minister to discuss Ruto’s reinstatement. The PM will not tolerate anymore attempts to undermine him. Any attempt to return the suspended minister back to office is illegitimate, illegal and unacceptable.”
Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo said the former minister was not fit for Cabinet reinstatement, according to the Ethics Act and Chapter Six of the new constitution."As far as we are concerned Ruto has other related cases in court. Moreover it is not for Kibaki to decide who becomes minister from the ODM side, we will not allow that. Only the PM can commission his return,” Jakoyo said.
During his US tour over the past two weeks, Raila promised a group of Kenyans that the fate of the suspended minister will be addressed soon.