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Robert Thuo: Nyeri finance CEC who has been retained by four governors

Nyeri County County Executive for Finance Robert Thuo duringa 2019 interview. [File,Standard]

With swearing-in for the County Executive Committee Members concluded in most county governments, one CEC has weathered four administrations' political storms and transitions.

Nyeri Finance and Economic Planning CEC Robert Thuo has served in the county government of Nyeri since 2015, when he was nominated by the late Governor Nderitu Gachagua, to lead the Agriculture department.

Since then he has served under the government of the late Gachagua, until his untimely demise, Governor Samuel Wamaathai, the late Governor Wahome Gakuru as a Finance CEC a role he continued under Governor Mutahi Kahiga.

Thuo has just taken the oath of office to serve his fifth term in office after working under four governors and it has been a tumultuous and rewarding example of resilience.

Before joining the county government in 2015, he had worked for the national government as a senior agricultural officer.

His first assignments had been setting up divisions and worked up the career civil service ladder in various capacities from 1990 to 2005 across the country. 

By the time of his exit from civil service, Thuo was working as the senior Provincial monitoring and evaluation officer in the Ministry of Agriculture. 

He then took on opportunities in the private sector working for international firms overseeing East and Central Africa and travelled the globe. 

By 2015 when the late Governor Gachagua was nominating him to be CEC for Agriculture, Thuo considered the opportunity as a way to serve the people of Nyeri. 

“I had vast experience working in various value chains all over the world, and therefore I came to this job with an attitude of service, and with my background in government I understood what was required,” he said. 

During his tenure in office, he found himself acting in various departments as the relationship between the late governor and the MCAs deteriorated, leading to most of his colleagues quitting or being impeached. 

“I ended up holding brief in almost three departments at any given time, but I learned to navigate the challenges, by putting in place the systems to run the key functions of each docket,” he said. 

He then worked with Governor Wamathai and as his term ended so did his job. He, however, got a call from the late Gakuru to join his government as his CEC Finance. 

“I had not worked in the finance department but I had experience in economics, project planning, and fiscal management because of my work in the private sector, and my agricultural training,” he said. 

Thuo took on the role and before he had settled into office, Governor Gakuru passed away in a tragic road accident, which left his deputy Governor Mutahi Kahiga to take up office. 

“When Kahiga took up office he nominated me to the same position and I have remained in his government into his second term,” he said. 

He has survived the political intrigues within county politics by remaining open-minded. 

“Many of my counterparts who are no longer in the office can tell you it is not easy,  but I gave it my best and we consult with CECs across the country,” he said. 

One thing that he believes helped him maintain his position was to play an advisory role in his position something he believes is the most critical role a CEC plays for their bosses. 

“It is not an easy thing to give advice and sometimes it does not align with the political interests. Most times your advice is taken into consideration and at times it is dismissed,” he noted. 

His lesson has been to stand firm on his advice but accepts the final decision lies with the governor.