Jimnah Mbaru to chair KNCCI Nairobi as focus shifts to national polls

Richard Ngatia and his successor Jimnah Mbaru during the handover after the polls.

Businessman Jimnah Mbaru has been elected unopposed as chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Nairobi chapter, succeeding Richard Ngatia, who is running for national president.

Mr Mbaru’s deputy Geoffrey Kimani was also elected unopposed in the mini polls, the first level in the two-tier polling system where county delegates get to vote in the second round for national officials.

Nine directors were also elected in the exercise conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The remaining seven other chapters will be voting in their delegates in the staggered electoral process for the leadership of the business community’s lobby group.

Focus now shifts to the national polls where three contestants are seeking to replace KNCCI president Kiprono Kittony, whose term ends in May.

The race has immediate former Nairobi chapter chairman Richard Ngatia, Kiprono’s vice chairman James Mureu and new entrant Abdulatiiff Shariff.

Former Youth Fund chairman Gor Semelango, who had shown interest in the president’s seat, has opted out to go for the vice chairman position. He will battle it out with Charles Wako and Fatma Elmaawy.

Recently, KNCCI introduced the position of second vice-chair, an appointee of the president, to address skills, gender, regional, youth and disability-related imbalance at the top leadership.

Meanwhile, a Nairobi County team led by Ngatia met with representatives of informal traders under the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations to discuss key issues within the sector.

In the meeting, the officials decried problems including evictions from work sites, frequent market fires, poor market infrastructures, lack of access to affordable finance and hesitance by Kenya Power to install electricity for jua kali artisans.

KNCCI Nairobi Chief Executive Nemaisa Kiereini urged the Jua Kali Federation to work closely with the chamber.

She said the organisation was already in talks with the county government to modernise markets in Nairobi, solve problems of poor structures and infrastructure, as well as rampant market fires that have affected informal markets.