Personalities to watch in 2020 as Kenyans usher in New Year

Friday, December 27th, 2019 00:00 |
Uhuru Kenyata
President Uhuru Kenyatta.

George Kebaso and Fred Aminga

President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga are some of key personalities squarely in the limelight as 2020 beckons.

It will be a busy year that promises political fireworks with the implementation of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report—that has divided the political class down the middle - likely to take the country into a plebiscite. 

It will be interesting to see how President Kenyatta  will navigate among simultaneous implementation of his Big 4 Agenda, the BBI Report, the war against corruption and management of his Jubilee Party, which is already facing am implosion.

First, there has been a push from the DP and his backers for the President to be clear about the 2022 succession. He has indicated that God will decide the next holder of the highest office in the land.

On the other hand, there is a commitment from opposition leader Raila to make Kenya politically and ethnically cohesive through the March 9, 2018 handshake. 

Kenyans are also keen to see if the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations will sustain the ant-corruption war.

Other leaders expected to take a key role in the country’s political and economic dispensation come 2020 include Amani National Congress (ANC) leader, Musalia Mudavadi, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, his Education and Treasury counterparts George Magoha and acting Treasury CS Ukur Yatani, Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o, Chief Justice David Maraga and Central Bank (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge.

Kenyans will also keenly watch Health CS, Sicily Kariuki mainly on the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) programme.

Senate and National Assembly speakers, Ken Lusaka and Justin Muturi respectively, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer, and marathoner Eliud Kipchoge will also be key figures in 2020 at the Tokyo Olympics.

On security, Inspector General (IG) of Police Hillary Mutyambai faces a daunting task dealing with terror threats. He is also overseeing police reforms that saw most Administration Police officers join their regular counterparts. 

The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti will also attract attention in the fight against terror, organised crime, money laundering, drug trafficking, economic crimes among other serious crimes.

In the business sector, Yatani, Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge, KQ board chairman and acting Safaricom CEO, Michael Joseph and senior Diageo executive Peter Ndegwa will remain centres of attention. 

Joseph will oversee power shifts at Kenya Airways (KQ) and Safaricom’s corner office, where new chief executives take charge in 2020. At East Africa’s most profitable company, Safaricom, he is expected to mentor Peter Ndegwa, a former Finance Director at East African Breweries Limited who is replacing late Bob Collymore. Ndegwa, who assumes office in April 2020, will be the first Kenyan Safaricom CEO. 

After a tough year for the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) culminating in the self-listed firm announcing it expects profit for the year ending December 31, to be at least 25 per cent lower than last year’s, the chief executive officer Geoffrey Odundo will be a busy man.

Announcing the profit warning on December 13, NSE attributed the poor performance to a difficult business environment in 2019. 

In sports, the Summer Olympics take place from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, Japan.

With athletics set to boost Kenya’s performance, defending marathon champion Kipchoge has already hit the gym as he readies to defend his title.

Kipchoge had a successful 2019 campaign that included winning the London Marathon and running 42 km under two hours in Vienna in October. Kipchoge is one of the many Kenyan long-distance runners (men and women) hoping to be selected for Tokyo. 

With athletes waiting for the Olympics trials, both sevens teams, Shujaa and Lionesses, have already secured their tickets to Tokyo while other disciplines such as boxing, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, archery and swimming are hoping to do so in their respective qualifiers in early 2020.

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