Nairobi County Gubernatorial candidate Johnson Sakaja on Tuesday, April 26 named Absa Bank Kenya Chief Operating Officer (COO) James Muchiri as his running mate.
Sakaja will be hoping Muchiri’s professional credentials boost his chances.
The move has been perceived as a counterweight to the Azimio la Umoja coalition’s recent unveiling of seasoned corporate executive Polycarp Igathe as its candidate for Governor. Sakaja and Muchiri will run on the DP William Ruto-led United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket – under the Kenya Kwanza coalition.
Muchiri has worked in leading financial institutions in the country. He has often been responsible for spearheading digital teams developing key financial services.
Muchiri served as Director, Operations and Technology at NIC Bank Kenya between 2006 and 2010. He was elevated to Managing Director for NIC Bank Tanzania – a position he held for three years between 2010 and 2013.
He moved on to Barclays Bank, which in 2019 would transition to Absa as Barclays reduced its presence on the continent. Muchiri served as Barclays’ Director – Digital Banking for East Africa between November 2013 and October 2014.
He took on the role of Customer Service Director at Barclays in 2014 and served until 2016.
Muchiri was promoted to Chief Commercial Officer at Barclays Bank Kenya and held the position for four years until February 2020. He retained the role of COO after the transition to Absa Bank Kenya and has served in the same role since.
With Nairobi still the region’s economic and technology hub, extra attention is being paid to this year’s gubernatorial race. Citizens also have numerous concerns on the repeated failures of past administrations on service delivery in public transport, business permit fees, water accessibility and harassment of business owners by county officials among other issues.
Up until the unveiling of Igathe last week, Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi was considered a front-runner for the seat alongside Sakaja. Igathe will be deputized by Wiper Party’s Philip Kaloki.