Mr James Okemwa Ntabo, who was sworn in as Kisii County Secretary, is a lucky man.
He sent tongues wagging after it emerged that the top official had also worked in the senior ranks of the Nyamira County Government for ten years, a career trajectory that is considered uncommon.
The immediate former Nyamira County Secretary was on Monday evening sworn in to take over from Mr Patrick Lumumba in governor Simba Arati’s administration. The function was held at Gusii stadium and presided over by Deputy governor Robert Monda.
A seemingly lucky man, he was first appointed as County Secretary of Nyamira in December 2013 where he served under late governor John Nyagarama and incumbent Amos Nyaribo before being poached by the devolved unit of Kisii.
A career civil servant with experience in governance, he is said to have been one of the key cogs in the day-to-day running of Nyamira County government when Mr Nyagarama was taken ill, as well as during the transition period to the next governor.
But who is Mr Ntabo?
He hails from Nyabigege village, Gucha South Sub-county, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Nairobi.
He holds a Masters of Business Administration from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and technology (JKUAT, 2008-2010) and a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science and Literature from the University of Nairobi (1989 to 1992).
He has worked in government for more than 25 years, including at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation as Deputy Secretary from 2014 to 2018 and as a District Commissioner at the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security from 2009 to 2011.
He also had a stint at the Ministry of Lands as a Senior Assistant Secretary from 2003 to 2009.
In his speech after taking oath of office, Mr Ntabo promised to help governor Simba Arati deliver on his manifesto to the electorate.
“I have returned home. First of all, I want to thank God for the opportunity he has given me to see this day. Secondly, I would like to thank Governor Arati and his Deputy Monda for appointing me to serve in their government,” he said.
While congratulating the new CS, Dr Monda urged him to diligently undertake his mandate while serving Kisii residents.
“Mr Ntabo is a distinguished career civil servant whose experience will improve service delivery in this county,” the DG said.
Politically, Mr Ntabo's appointment can be seen as one way of ensuring that all clans in Kisii are represented in government.
The Abanyaribari clan have a deputy governor (Dr Monda), the Abagetutu has a senator (Richard Onyonka), the Abanchari has the women representative (Dorice Aburi), the Abamachoge have the Assembly speaker (Philip Nyanumba) and now the Abagirango have the county secretary.