There is a big possibility that the reigning Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) President Richard Ngatia could bag a landslide victory when the body goes to elections on Thursday this week.
Ngatia has risen fast since 2019 when he was elected to the position to be appointed a member of the vital World Chambers Federation (WCF) which makes it critical for Kenya to protect his tenure.
The elections have become a matter of huge interest to both the national and county governments and when Ngatia takes on his main opponent Erick Ruto, the world will be watching.
This comes at a time when Kenya is pushing hard to retain its status as Kenya one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and Ngatia’s global status makes him a better option than Ruto who is the current Vice President.
Ngatia has already received backing from 5 of Kenya’s regional economic blocks with almost every bg name in the Kenyan political space supporting his bid.
He has already received backing from the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) which has 14 member counties namely ; Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, Vihiga, Bomet, Bungoma,Busia , Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii,Kisumu, Nandi ,Trans Nzoia and Kericho.
The Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) FCDC has also backed his bid and its member counties are Lamu , Tana River ,Garissa, Wajir ,Mandera ,Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana ,Samburu and West Pokot.
Ngatia’s stronghold is the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc of Kitui, Machakos, Makueni counties together with the Mt Kenya and Aberdares Region Economic Bloc that comprises 10 counties namely; Nyeri , Nyandarua ,Meru , Tharaka Nithi ,Embu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a ,Laikipia, Nakuru and Kiambu.
The Nairobi Metropolitan zone is also backing his bid probably because he was born and raised in the capital.His gubernatorial bid last year also raised his star within the political environment.
His opponent Erick Ruto is banking on the North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) that has Uasin Gishu,Trans Nzoia ,Nandi ,Elgeyo Marakwet ,West Pokot , Baringo , Samburu and Turkana.
But it is rise in the international scene that may determine his potential win and of interest is the fact that he is the first Kenyan to sit on the council of the powerful lobby for trade chambers with his appointment last year seen as a major boost to local businesses
The current administration under President William Ruto has embarked on an aggressive campaign to open more market opportunities abroad and deepen trade ties with traditional allies.Ngati’s global position makes him key to the government’s agenda.
The lobby draws members from over 100 countries worldwide and only 20 personalities are elected to sit on the WCF council.
Some of the governors who have openly come out to support his bid include Ken Lusaka of Bungoma ,Wilbur Ottichilo of Vihiga and Kajiado’s Jospeh Ole Lenku.
have also thrown their weight behind Ngatia and his running mate, Ngatia wascended to the KNCCI top seat unopposed in 2019 and has joined forces with businessman Abdulwali Shariff Ahmed who also has deep business networks across Africa
Ngatia, who is seeking reelection with Abdulwalli Sharif as his running mate, will contest against the chamber’s vice president Eric Ruto.
The Chamber could get even bigger after Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria said the government is working on a law to make it mandatory for all businesses to be members of KNCCI.
Kuria said the move will strengthen the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and will be submitted to Cabinet for approval within 30 days.
“We are working on the National Chamber Bill which has to go to Cabinet within the next 30 days. We are going to have the Kenya Chamber that is truly reflective of Kenyan businesses,” he said.
To join the Chamber, this means, small business owners will have to cough up to Sh5000 annual fees, while group businesses will pay