The name of President William Ruto is featuring prominently as the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( KNCCI Elections ) fever grips chamber.
When elections are at their fever pitch candidates seek endorsements from prominent personalities to boost their candidature in the race.
Others invoke names of prominent personalities without their permission or endorsements in their propaganda machines to create positive impressions
The name of President William Ruto is being mentioned in the campaigns of the KNCCI Vice President Dr Eric Rutto who seeking to snatch the chamber’s presidency from the incumbent president Richard Ngatia who is eyeing re-election.
Dr Rutto’s schemes of mentioning President Ruto as his supporter and having endorsed him seem to backfire as the KNCCI members and delegates are terming it as hot air and cheap propaganda.
“Dr Rutto was bragging that he is close to President William Ruto and will get appointed as a Cabinet Secretary but when the list was read his name was missing from the list. We can’t believe that he is connected to the Head of State,” said a KNCCI member and delegate who sought anonymity.
The member said that after missing out n the cabinet list he said that he will get appointed as a Principle Secretary but again his name was missing.
After missing out on the Cabinet Secretary and Principle Secretary appointments, he went ahead to brag how he had bribed President Ruto’s close confidants at State State House to the tune of Ksh50 million to secure the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) job but still, he remained in the cold as he was not named for the position after President Ruto announced the 50 CAS nominees who were sworn in.
“After missing on both the Cabinet Secretary, Principle Secretary and CAS posts he came back and said that the president will offer him a soft landing by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) job but it never materialized,” said the delegate.
He said they have had enough of Dr Rutto’s lies and cannot trust him on anything adding that these are the kicks of a dying horse seeking relevance in the campaigns.
Whereas Dr Rutto is busy campaigning his rival Richard Ngatia who is defending the KNCCI presidency is sitting pretty with confidence from his armchair receiving endorsements without putting a lot of energy in campaigns.
Dr Rutto is at the centre of being unprofessional by facing accusations of sexual harassment by women in the course of his duties. These allegations are giving him sleepless nights as he tries to clear his name.
On sensing defeat, Dr Rutto has resorted to using the tribal tag politics to de-campaign Ngatia.
“Hawa Wakikuyu wakae kando sasa (its now time that these Kikuyus should keep off). It is our time,” Dr Rutto has severally been overheard saying in his campaigns against Ngatia who is from the Mount Kenya region as he tries to mobilise non-Kikuyus to back candidature.
So far Ngatia has been endorsed by 25 countries out of 47 and is still expecting more where he is most likely and assured of winning the presidency with a landslide victory.
The delegates find Dr Rutto to be greedy and selfish whereby mostly the chamber’s president is usually given a chance to serve more than one term but in this case, he is not giving Ngatia a chance to serve for another term to finish some of the projects he started in his first term.
“He should have defended his seat as the Vice President then supported Ngatia in the second term as he learns from him in managing the chamber before later considering going for the presidency,” said a KNCCI official from the Great Lakes region.
Ngatia is getting more endorsements for re-election based on his development track record as the KNCCI boss in his first term.
Under Ngatia’s leadership, KNCCI was at the forefront of supporting businesses to recover from the economic setbacks during the covid-19 pandemic.
KNCCI strengthened partnerships with both national and county governments, financial institutions and other corporate bodies, and development partners to support enterprises through digitization, credit access programmes, training and skill enhancement support for knowledge and capacity development and expansion of market links among other initiatives.
Ngatia was able to attract more members under his leadership, where the KNCCI membership increased from 20,000 to more than 60,000 members registered directly and another 1 million through associations owing to enhanced advocacy for an enabling business environment.
Ngatia is a member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) World Chambers Federation (WCF) General Council, the chairman International Conference on Great Lake Region-Private Sector Forum-ICGLR in Africa, deputy patron of Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Association, board member of East Africa Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and also Trustee PERAK.
The KNCCI elections are being conducted by the Independent Electoral Board (IED) which kicked off at the grassroots in the Central Kenya region.
Each county of the county’s 47 counties is expected to elect 11 delegates who will participate as voters in the forthcoming KNCCI elections scheduled for June 8th, 2023 during the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Ngatia has picked Abdulwalli Sharrif of Tunasco who has interests in agriculture, oil and construction as his running mate.
During the last polls, the then Vice President James Mureu and Abdulwalli Sharrif withdrew from the presidential race at the 11th hour saying they had unanimously agreed to support Ngatia.
Besides Mureu and Shariff, the other two contenders; Stephen Mbugua and Laban Onditi had earlier stepped down in Ngatia’s favour while former National Youth Fund Chief Executive Officer (Ceo) Gor Semelang’o withdrew from the race citing personal reasons.
“The three gentlemen have in their wisdom met, deliberated and agreed the two will be stepping down and supporting one of their own that is Ngatia. This is a landmark decision that clearly manifests the democratic ideals of the chamber,” in an announcement made at the chamber headquarters in Nairobi and presided over by the then outgoing Chamber President Kiprono Kittony.