Since he was appointed Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of ICT in 2022, Eliud Owalo has been the talk of town and the subject of several social media discussions.
He is among the richest men in the Nyanza region and one of the few politicians who have stood against Raila’s political dominance in the region.
From being Raila’s campaign chief to one of Ruto’s right-hand men, this is his journey as told by WoK:
Eluid Okech Owalo was born on 27th February 1967 in Asembo, Siaya county.
His father, the late Gideon Charles Owalo, was an archbishop of Nomiya Church and one of the founding students of Maseno School and Makerere University.
Owalo Sr was also a high school teacher of Agriculture and mathematics. Some of his notable students include ODM leader Raila Odinga, former National Assembly deputy speaker Joab Omino, former Nyamira deputy governor James Gesami, the late Orwa Ojode, and former Siaya governor Cornel Rasanga.
Eliud Owalo attended Maseno National School for his O levels before proceeding to St Mary’s Yala for his A levels.
He then joined Kenyatta University to pursue a bachelor of Arts degree in economics, graduating with second-class honors to pursue a master’s in Human Resource Management from the University of Nairobi.
During his vetting for the position of Cabinet Secretary by the parliamentary commission in 2022, he was at the tail end of pursuing a Ph.D. in strategic management from the University of Nairobi.
Career-wise, Eliud Owalo boasts 22 years of experience in consultancy and Human Resource Management. He has been involved in the strategic planning of many development projects in the country, especially in the public sector.
He has worked in the ministries of Justice, lands, environment, labor, heritage, cooperative development, and interior and provincial administration.
He has also been involved in the strategic planning of parastatals like the Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya National Highway Authority, Kenya School of Government, Kenya Electricity Transmission Authority, Kenya Airports Authority, and Communication Authority of Kenya, among others.
Before his appointment as Cabinet secretary, he was practicing as the managing consultant for Eliud and Associates alongside his wife.
Owalo’s political career is as impressive as his work in the public sector. In 2013, he headed Raila Odinga’s presidential campaign trail within the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD). He was also Raila’s chief campaign manager.
Owalo fell out with Raila when he was denied a ticket to run for the Kibra MP seat by ODM in favor of the late Ken Okoth.
He then shifted to the Amani National Congress (ANC) party, where he became a close ally and strategic advisor to party leader Musalia Mudavadi until August 2020 when he joined the Kenya Kwanza brigade.
There, aside from being part of the presidential campaign organizers, he was part of the economic advisory team that came up with the bottom-up economic model and the party manifesto.
He also deputized the secretary general of the UDA party until he resigned in 2022 following his appointment as cabinet secretary.
Although Owalo has not been involved in many high-profile scandals, he is no stranger to controversy.
In 2013, he was arrested and grilled by security agencies over allegedly planning nationwide protests against the Jubilee government.
He was also accused of trying to collude with diplomats, foreign embassies, and the clergy in trying to sabotage the Jubilee government.
Owalo’s wife is Jacqueline Muga, who sits on the board of the Development Bank of Kenya. The couple has three children; Mitchelle, Yvonne, and Paul.
Muga has also had a career at the Cooperative Bank of Kenya and the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission.
She holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the United States International University (USIU) and a BA in economics and Sociology from Egerton University.
Eliud Owalo is one of the wealthiest men in the Nyanza region. In his vetting by the parliamentary committee in 2022, he stated his net worth to be 645 million.
He has two houses in Nairobi and upcountry, worth sh 120 million and 70 million respectively.
The CS also has land assets worth 200 million, 4 cars worth 15 million, an incomplete hotel worth 80 million but estimated to be worth 293 million upon completion, and 160 million worth of commercial trees.
As a cabinet secretary, he earns a gross salary of 990,000 and is entitled to a state car of at least 3000 cc, and medical cover of over sh 10 million for himself and his family, among other hefty benefits.