Former Kisii Governor James Ongwae to lead ICT ministry's capacity building team

Former Kisii governor James Ongwae.[Eric Abuga,Standard]

Former Kisii Governor and opposition leader Raila Odinga's former ally James Ongwae has landed a job at the Ministry of ICT and Digital Economy.

His appointment, alongside others, was gazetted by ICT CS Eliud Owalo on Wednesday, November 15.

In his new job, Ongwae will lead the nine-member council to support widespread capacity and innovations in ICT.

The former Kisii Governor will chair the Council comprising of other members; Patrick Muriithi Mwati, Dr Amos W. Omolo, Lily Cherono Koech, Francis Parsimei Gitau, Joy Frida Nkirole Mutuma, Dr Ferdinand Chirure Nyongesa, Benjamin Kiptanui Rop, and Elizabeth Limagur.

Speaking to The Standard on Thursday afternoon, Ongwae said; 

"This is a critical body in Kenya Kwanza Government's agenda to digitize its services, make ICT an enabler to the provision of millions of jobs to the youth of this Country, and support the President's clarion call on Digital Economy."

He has also expressed his gratitude to the state for the opportunity to serve in the Council and to drive the bottom-up Kenya Kwanza development agenda.

"I want to assure the ICT Cabinet Secretary that I will be part of his team to drive widespread internet access and connectivity and promote innovation and capacity building in ICT across the Country."

Ongwae became among the first political leaders from the Gusii region to join the Kenya Kwanza Government and to support President William Ruto's agenda immediately after the 2022 General elections.

He had served as the county chief for two terms, on an ODM party ticket.

Alongside former ODM's Executive Director and one-time Kisii County Woman Rep Janet Ongera, they decamped ODM immediately after the elections and offered to support President Ruto citing frustrations within the ODM party.

Before assuming office as the first Governor of Kisii County County, Ongwae served as the Permanent Secretary and Director for Personnel Management in the late President Daniel Moi's Government.

He also served as the Secretary of the Teachers Service Commission under the late Mwai Kibaki's Government.

The Council provides strategic policy guidance for the administration and implementation of the Universal Service Fund (USF).

The USF was set up in 2013 to support widespread access, capacity building, and innovation in information and communications technology services.

The USF draws its finances from contributions from telecommunication service providers, broadcasters, and postal and courier operators, who are required to remit 0.5 percent of their gross annual turnover into the fund.

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