Ruto ex-aide to take Senate seat after Tuya’s CS promotion

Esther Anyieni Okenyuri

Esther Anyieni Okenyuri, 30, told Nation.Africa that she met Dr Ruto through political rallies as a founder of Kisii Youth Alliance.

Photo credit: File

President William Ruto’s former aide, Ms Esther Anyieni Okenyuri, is poised to join the Senate to replace Environment Cabinet Secretary nominee Soipan Tuya.  

Ms Tuya is among eight women nominated to the Senate by Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA). Her nomination to the Cabinet means she will have to relinquish the position to join the Executive.

The nomination list published by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) places Ms Okenyuri at position nine, making her the automatic pick to replace Ms Tuya once she resigns from Parliament.

The party submitted 16 names for nomination but managed slots for Ms Tuya, Veronica Nduati, Miraj Abdulrahman, Gloria Orwoba, Joyce Korir, Karen Nyamu, Peris Tobiko and Maureen Mutinda.

There are 20 nomination slots in the Senate, 16 directly for women, two for youth and two for people with disabilities.

Ms Tuya and other CS nominees are set to be vetted by the National Assembly before they can take oath of office as members of the Cabinet in the new administration.

Former Narok Woman Representative Soipan Tuya becomes the first Maa woman to be appointed to Cabinet as Environment CS.

Photo credit: Robert Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

“I am optimistic that I will soon be in the Senate. We are waiting for the vetting to be done before she can resign to take up the new role,” said Ms Okenyuri.

Offered her a job

In 2017, Ms Okenyuri was listed for nomination to Kisii County Assembly by the Jubilee Party, but was shortchanged at the last minute.

She took the matter to court but lost, before Dr Ruto offered her a job at his office in 2018.

“I was number one under the youth category in the nomination list to the Kisii County Assembly. But I was shortchanged by being moved to number two. Only one person was successful in that category,” she told Nation. Africa.

“In 2018, I was appointed to work in the office of the Deputy President as assistant director, Research. I participated in UDA membership registrations, among other activities of the party at the height of the Jubilee breakup,” she added.

The 30-year-old told Nation.Africa that she met Dr Ruto through political rallies as a founder of Kisii Youth Alliance.

She also served as a student leader at Maasai Mara University.

“I met Ruto in public rallies. I founded the Kisii Youth Alliance and youth would always demand that I speak in those rallies. That is how I came to interact with President Ruto,” she said.

"My nomination is an affirmation that with determination and hard work, you can realise your goals without necessarily having the ‘right’ surname. This is real bottom-up and I am very grateful to President Ruto," she added.  

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