Flashy businessman Gor Semelang’o has presented his candidacy for the position of Chairperson, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).
Mr Semelang’o, who has interests in the transport, real estate, e-commerce and oil and gas sectors, joined the now-three horse race this earlier week.
The other two contenders are KNCCI vice chairperson, James Mureu, and Nairobi chapter chairperson Richard Ngatia.
The race to succeed outgoing KNCCI president, Kiprono Kittony, had initially seen multiple candidates expressing an interest.
However, Stephen Mbugua and Laban Onditi, both senior outgoing officials of KNCCI, announced rescinded their decisions to run.
Though a late-comer to the contest, Mr Semelang’o is optimistic that the Western bloc, comprising Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western region representatives will fully back him in his bid.
Mr Semelang’o, a longtime philanthropist, would – most likely – give Mr Ngatia and Mr Mureu a run for their money, given his national appeal.
The former Youth Enterprise Development Fund chairman says his motivation to run for KNCCI chairperson was fuelled by a sense of belief a section of the delegates has in him.
“A number of delegates requested me to fill the vacancy. I am an active member of the KNCCI, and so I thought to myself: ‘why not give it a try?’ I have consulted several stakeholders and they have given me the go-ahead,” Mr Semelang’o told EDAILY.
Mr Semelang’o says the outgoing chairperson of KNCCI, Mr Kitonny, “achieved a lot” as the body’s leader despite joining as an outsider.
Both Mr Ngatia and Mr Mureu reiterate Mr Semelang’o remarks that the outgoing chamber of commerce boss improved the body’s standing and authority in the economic front.
Mr Kittony says he is hopeful his successor would complete his vision of lifting KNCCI to be the single lobby that champions the interests of all businesses, irrespective of size.
Mr Kittony’s term at the helm of the chamber, that represents the interests of over 310,000 businesses and with a representation of over 16,000 members at national and county level, comes to an end ahead of the polls penciled in for May.