Eric Kipkoech Ng’eno has made a comeback to Statehouse as president-elect William Ruto’s speech writer. He became well-known for writing speeches that were considered “outstanding” after the Jubilee administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta took office in 2013.
He served as the President’s Senior Director of Messaging (Speech and Commentary) from May 2013 until June 2020, when he and four other members of the communication team were suspended from the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) for allegedly using inconsistent messaging. The suspensions were contained in a memo from the Office of the Chief of Staff, and after a sequence of inconsistent messages extending from the Presidency.
The positions were eliminated in accordance with Section 28 of the Public Service Commission Act 2017 as a result of government reorganization, according to the letter from the commission’s Chief Executive Simon Rotich to Interior CS Fred Matiang’i. The four including digital strategist Dennis Itumbi, External Press Director Munyori Buku, and Events Director James Kinyua later joined Ruto’s communication team in Karen after departing State House, where they were joined by director of communication Emmanuel Tallam and communication secretary David Mugonyi.
Eric Ng’eno contributed to packaging technical materials in a language that could be used to successfully engage a national audience. Photos went round on social media of Ruto’s digital strategist Dennis Itumbi, and Emmanuel Talam buying second-hand socks from a vendor in Dagoretti, Nairobi. Itumbi and Talam were accompanied by UDA’s director of communications Wanjohi Githae and former Presidential Strategic Communications Unit director, Eric Ngeno, a political move after Raila Odinga’s controversial ”Mitumba” statement that created an uproar online. Ruto criticized Raila claiming that his remarks about the trade of second-hand clothes were dangerous and meant to undermine local businesses.
Eric Ng’eno has a close friendship with Ruto and served as his personal assistant in the past. During the Serena negotiations that led to the National Accord after the 2007/2008 post-election violence, he gave him research and administrative support. Ruto wanted someone with a legal background as well as strong communication and writing skills at the time.
He also took part in writing the UDM (United Democratic Movement) and later URP (United Republican Party) manifesto in preparation for the general elections in 2013. In a statement during the 2017 Presidential debate, the Senior Messaging Director at the time Eric Ng’eno, revealed the reasons why President Uhuru Kenyatta failed to attend citing claims that the National Super Alliance (NASA) were coordinating with ”media cartels” who only wanted to gain profit from Kenyans creating an uproar.
Ng’eno stated that Debate Media Limited (DML), the event’s organizers, had agreed to extract money from debate advertising and divide it among the owners. He was also quoted as saying that presidential debates were a “cash crop to line up the coffers of an oppressive cartel”.
In a recent media publication dated August 1, 2022, Ng’eno also reacted to reports by outgoing Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho who went public about the existence of leaflets that emerged containing insightful messages in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, alleging a state-backed scheme to destabilize Rift Valley. Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi appeared to support Ngeno’s claim that any chaos experienced on election day would only be the responsibility of the Office of the President.
In a series of tweets, Kibicho had disclosed that the administration was aware of leaflets with warnings that were directed at the electorate in particular locations and claimed that the messages warned severe consequences if the electorate failed to support individual candidates in the general election on August 9.
Eric Ng’eno has experience in commercial, legal, legislative, public policy, and regulatory affairs, legal and regulatory compliance audits, QMS audits, research consultation, and facilitation. He also has a background in political, government, and strategic communication.
He is a Partner at Kipsang & Mutai Advocates in charge of Litigation, Research, and Legal Advisory with over 12 years of experience working for the Eldoret firm Nyaundi Tuiyott & Co Advocates as an Advocate. Ng’eno is a Certified Public Secretary and a member of the Institute Of Certified Public Secretaries Of Kenya. He handles corporate law matters, especially on issues touching on banking, securitization, company formation, transfer of business and labour matters.
Ng’eno attended Alliance High School from 1991 to 1994 before moving on to Moi University to pursue legal studies. He enrolled at Strathmore Business School in 2015 to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and management. He was admitted to the bar in April 2000 and graduated with honors from Moi University and obtained a Diploma from the Kenya School Of Law in 2001.
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