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Ruto taps Lazarus Amayo, Simon Gikuru in new State appointments

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Career diplomat Lazarus Amayo is the President AU reforms Special Envoy, while Simon Gikuru is the Deputy State House Comptroller.

President William Ruto made two key appointments on Tuesday, naming career diplomat Lazarus Amayo as the Special Envoy for the African Union's Champion for Institutional Reforms, and Simon Mwangi Kamau-Gikuru as the Deputy Comptroller of the State House.

Amayo is Kenya's outgoing ambassador to the United States in Washington, DC.

“To support the Ministry of Foreign & Diaspora Affairs in steering the President's unique mandate as the African Union Champion for Institutional Reform, the Head of State has, with the approval of the Public Service Commission (PSC), appointed Ambassador Lazarus Amayo as the Special Envoy of the African Union Champion for Institutional Reforms,” read a dispatch from State House.

It added, “The Special Envoy is expected to play a critical role in driving the AU's institutional reforms in liaison with the State Department for Foreign Affairs and the African Union institutions.”

A file picture of Lazarus Amayo, who was on May 14, 2024, appointed the Special Envoy for the African Union's Champion for Institutional Reforms. (Photo: X/Kenya Embassy D.C)

Amayo has held several senior public positions, including ambassador/permanent representative to the United Nations (2018–2020), High Commissioner of Kenya to the United Kingdom (2014–2018), permanent representative of Kenya to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the Commonwealth Organization.

He has also previously served as the director for Europe and the Commonwealth Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (2010–2014), the High Commissioner of Kenya to Zambia and Malawi and Permanent Representative to COMESA (2006–2010), and Kenya's High Commissioner to India with concurrent accreditation to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Singapore (1999–2004).

Amayo, formerly Kenya’s ambassador to the United Nations, will lay the groundwork for President Ruto, travelling to African capitals to persuade continental leaders to support the reform agenda.

President Ruto took on the responsibility of leading the effort for AU reforms during the February summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, succeeding President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

The expectations are high as the achievement of progress on the continental reform agenda has proven challenging, with several plans stalling.

African leaders recognised the imperative for a swift and substantial reform of the African Union in 2016 and handed the initiative over to President Kagame.

The aim was to realign AU institutions for better service delivery, ensure operational efficiency and sustainable financing, and connect the organisation with African citizens.

A file picture of Simon Mwangi Kamau-Gikuru, who was appointed Deputy State House Comptroller on May 14, 2024. (Photo: X/Simon Gikuru)

Deputy State House Comptroller

President Ruto has also re-established the position of Deputy State House Comptroller and appointed Simon Mwangi Kamau-Gikuru to the office.

He noted that Mwangi, a High Court advocate, has more than 10 years of experience in law, management, strategic planning, policy formulation, financial administration, consultancy, logistics, and conflict resolution.

"I thank His Excellency President William Samoei Ruto most sincerely for giving me the chance to serve as the Deputy Comptroller of State House and more so for believing in young people. I shall put my best foot forward and make my fellow youth proud as I serve our great motherland, Kenya," Mwangi told The Eastleigh Voice upon his appointment.

Mwangi's previous roles include secretary-general of the Amani National Congress, managing associate at Chege Kamau & Company Advocates, and group managing director of Amoo Holdings International Ltd., which has operations in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and the DRC.

He has a Master of Law degree from the University of Nairobi, a postgraduate diploma in law from the Kenya School of Law, and a Bachelor of Law degree from Makerere University, Uganda.

Mwangi, who will deputise State House Comptroller Katoo Ole Metito, has also undertaken postgraduate training in global entrepreneurship and innovation at the Manning School of Business of the University of Massachusetts.

He was among the 50 people who were to be appointed chief administrative secretary and would have served in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and Digital Economy.

State House said, "With the immense expertise and experience of the newly appointed officials, the Head of State and Government is confident that the two public officers will contribute enormously towards the realisation of our shared aspirations for a fair, just, and equitable nation with shared prosperity for all, as espoused in the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA)."

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