By Prudence Minayo
Nzioka Waita is the former Chief Of Staff in the Office of President who resigned from the plum position to train his sights in the Machakos gubernatorial seat in the forthcoming general election slated for 8 August 2022. He has an impressive resume for a man who is only 46 years (born 24 October 1975). He worked for Safaricom PLC-starting as a legal officer before rising through the ranks to serve the most profitable telcos in the region as Legal Services Manager, Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Head of Strategy & New Business and finally exiting the company as the Corporate Affairs director.
Here is the biography of Nzioka Waita as told by WoK.
He attended the reputable St. Mary’s School before pursuing a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from the University of Sheffield. He would later pursue a Post Graduate Diploma in IT & Communications Law from Queen Mary, University of London both in the United Kingdom. He is also a Certified Public Secretary and a member of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).
After graduating from University of Sheffield, he returned to Kenya and began his law career at Daly and Figgis. In 2001, he joined Kenya’s telecommunication giant Safaricom PLC as a legal officer. A year later, he was appointed Legal Services Manager-a position he held for five years (2002-2007) before another promotion in 2007 that saw him appointed Head of Legal & Regulatory Affairs between. He went on to serve as Head of Strategy & New Business, responsible for driving the company’s mergers and acquisitions agenda and later on as the corporate affairs director.
The Safaricom Foundation was founded in 2003 and he became its founding trustee. He performed in this role for more than ten years, and is among the people credited with successive listing of Safaricom at the Nairobi Security Exchange.
He has also served as the company secretary for international fibre optic company TEAMS Limited.
Office of the president
On 17 April 2015, Nzioka was poached from Safaricom PLC and his journey as a public servant began. He was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as the Secretary of Delivery in the Executive Office of the President. One of his key duties was to create a strong development delivery office that would give the President line of sight to his administration’s key development projects and programs.
On 11th March, 2016, he was elevated to Deputy Chief of Staff and Deputy Head of the Public Service charged with overseeing implementation of flagship government projects.
Waita was promoted to Chief of staff and Head of the President’s Delivery Unit by the President on 5 January 2018, a position he held until his resignation on 9 February 2022.
Joining Active Politics
Appearing on Citizen TV’s Newsnight, he affirmed his decision to join the Machakos gubernatorial race.
“I will work till the 9th of February at 5am. I will then make a farewell call to the president and ask for his blessings and support..,” he partly said.
He said his plan was to develop Machakos county and ensure the county which is close to Nairobi benefits from the Nairobi Metropolitan and the Metropolitan infrastructure.
Mavoko MP Patrick Makau questioned his ability to lead Machakos as he could not speak Kamba. He hit back saying he could hear and speak (albeit not perfectly) Kikamba. He added that the budget in the county assembly is read in English and fluently speaking Kamba was not a prerequisite for administrative duties.
“I listen and I can understand Kikamba perfectly. I speak it like many of the young men who grew up in Nairobi. It’s patchy but I want to ask, is the budget for Machakos County read in Kikamba? Is the debate in the county Assembly done in Kikamba? When we sit to discuss with the National government are the conversations in Kikamba or are they in English?” he questioned.
He went on to add that the job of a governor is administration and not becoming a master of ceremony in Kikamba language.
Waita is inclined to Azimio la Umoja led by ODM leader Raila Odinga and fronted by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Talking to the Standard, he said that he will follow Uhuru’s direction:
“I cannot say that now. I am the president’s man. I will be where he will be,” he says.
He is married and he’s a father of one.
Relationship with Bob Collymore
Former Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore seemingly trusted Waita Nzioka a lot to a point he appointed him as the alternate executor of his will should anything happen to his wife Wambui Kamiru. Collymore left all his wealth estimated at Kshs 287 million to wife.