Erick Rutto has been elected the new Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry(KNCCI) president in a hotly contested election held on Thursday.
Dr Rutto, the chamber’s vice president, floored incumbent Richard Ngatia with 291 votes against 208. His running mate and consequent vice president is Mustafa Ramadhan.
Mr Ngatia and his running mate Abdulwalli Shariff were seeking a second term after taking office in 2019.
The elections held at the Bomas of Kenya saw the voting exercise stretch to late night with the winners taking their oath of office some minutes to 11 pm.
Votes were cast by delegates drawn from each county, with exception of Trans Nzoia, which provides administrative services.
Each county had 11 voters with exception of a few like Tharaka Nithi and Machakos who had nine.
There was only one spoilt vote.
There was also election of national directors from the various regions - North Eastern, Nyanza, South Rift, Coast, Central and Western.
Rutto in his acceptance speech spoke highly of his predecessor, saying his office will allow Ngatia to continue to discharge his duties in the trade bodies he was appointed to while president of the chamber.
Early in the year, Ngatia was appointed to the World Chambers Federation (WCF) for a two anda half-year term.
“I promise I shall be consulting you and I will come to you for guidance,” said Rutto said to Ngatia.
Rutto said KNCCI will embark on an aggressive membership drive, in addition to establishing the chamber’s financial and management system and digitising membership.
He Rutto said his tenure will lead to a chamber that truly advocates for the businesses.
“We vow to advocate for the entire business community. I am confident that we will achieve remarkable milestones during my tenure,” he said.
A key issue in Rutto’s manifesto was giving more voice to women-led businesses, which new vice president Mr Mustafa said will be the first order of business.