Kenyan President, William Ruto, finally named his cabinet line up with a few new names coming in to the picture. The ICT Ministry is one of the ministries that have seen a new name suggested to lead the docket, of course after vetting by parliament.
So, who is this man, Eliud Owalo. Most people in the ICT industry in Kenya had never heard of him up until the president listed him as the Cabinet Secretary for ICT. One thing that is for sure, is that he is a totally different person from his predecessor, Joe Mucheru, who has held the ICT docket in Kenya for the last seven or so years.
Mucheru is a career ICT expert who was fished out of Google to come run the ICT Ministry. Eliud Owalo, on the other hand, is more of an economist and strategist. His work might have led him to ICT-related matters a couple of times, but Mr Owalo has not been explicitly limited to ICT issues in his career.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree in Economics and Business Studies from Kenyatta University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree in Human Resources Management, from the University of Nairobi. He is also currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Strategic Management at the University of Nairobi.
Mr Owalo further serves as a Fellow, the Institute of Human Resource Management (FIHRM). He is also a member of the Professional Trainers’ Association of Kenya (PTAK).
Prior to his appointment by the Kenyan President, he ran Eliud and Associates as a Managing Consultant, a position he has held for the last 21 years, as per his LinkedIn profile. The new CS is also a former Director/Council Member of the Kenya School of Government (KSG).
Eliud Owalo’s Job at Hand
Based on his career path and educational background, it is clear that Mr Owalo is completely different from his predecessor, Joe Mucheru. Eliud is more of a decision-maker than a techie. Seemingly, President Ruto went for a strategic leader who will make key decisions in the ICT Ministry which is a big pillar that will shape Kenya’s future.
In fact, the ICT Ministry was a major pillar of the big 4 Agenda that was explored extensively by the previous government.
Eliud Owalo will likely write his own story at the ministry rather than walk in the footsteps of Joe Mucheru. It is also possible that he will come up with his own strategies to make the ICT department as rewarding as possible for the people of Kenya.
He already has a lot waiting for him at his new docket, after the national assembly vets and approves his appointment. Concerns have been raised about some decisions that were made by the previous government, and Owalo’s reaction to key aspects in the ICT sector will be watched by players in the Kenyan ICT space.
The now suspended ICT Practitioners Bill is controversial, and we are yet to see any input from the government because, at the time of its revocation, the state was busy preparing for polls.
The Computer Misuse Bill is also controversial and has been faulted by many organizations and friends of the ICT industry.
Will Owalo be able to finally fill the gap that has been existing ever since Prof Bitange Ndemo left the Ministry many years ago? We wait.