MEET THE MAN WHO WRITES FOR UHURU KENYATTA ALL HIS SPEECHES

From doing ‘kazi ya mkono’ for the future Deputy
President, lawyer Eric Ng’eno ended up being the speech
writer for the president. He spoke to WAKENYA
about how he chooses appropriate words, the length of
the speech and whether Uhuru Kenyatta reads the drafts
before delivery
It must be quite something to be the president’s speech
writer. How did it all start?
It is a long, winding, eventful story. I will summarize it this
way: Once upon a time, I was the Deputy President’s
personal assistant. At first, I conducted research and
secretarial services for him during the Serena negotiations
that yielded the National Accord after the 2007/2008 post-
election violence. At the time, he had asked for someone
with a legal background and who has excellent
communication and writing skills.

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Initially, I didn’t understand why communication skills were
that important for him. But he was clearly farsighted. When
the Grand Coalition Government was formed, he was
appointed Minister for Agriculture. As a minister, Hon Ruto
wanted technical materials to be packaged in a language that
could be used to successfully engage a national audience. He
is rather good at it, and we spent lots of time going through
a lot of documents and prepping him for presentations at
various levels.
One day, out of the blue, he called me and asked for a speech
for an event at Moi University. I passed the instructions on
to his other PA, who duly provided a draft. When I met the
minister, he threw it away and said that he had asked me to
personally prepare a speech.
Since we were on our way to Wilson Airport, and I had less
than an hour to put something together. I found a computer
and produced a brief speech. When he returned, he told me
that he liked it. So, I became his messaging resource person
for Press statements, speeches, briefs, presentations and
other communication.

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