ACTING ROLE

Seii succeeds Rutere as National Council of Elders chairman

Move follows the death of his predecessor who was buried over the weekend

In Summary
  • Major (Rtd) John Seii appointment follows the demise of former chairman Phares Rutere who was buried over the weekend.
  • Rutere died while receiving treatment at a hospital in Nairobi after battling Covid-19 related complications.
National Council of Elders patron Kung'u Muigai, chairman Phares Rutere and Major (Rtd) John Seii on November 6, 2020
National Council of Elders patron Kung'u Muigai, chairman Phares Rutere and Major (Rtd) John Seii on November 6, 2020
Image: AMOS NJAU

Major (Rtd) John Seii has been appointed the acting chairman of the Kenya National Council of Elders.

His appointment follows the death of Phares Rutere who was buried over the weekend.

Ruteere died while receiving treatment at a hospital in Nairobi after battling Covid-19 related complications. He was the chairman of the council while Seii served as his deputy.

In an interview with the Star on Monday, National Council of Elders secretary general Joseph King’ori said Seii immediately assumed office following Rutere's death.

He said the move was guided by their constitution to avoid any leadership vacuum in the council.

“Seii is now our acting chairman as we await the move by the national executive council on who should replace him or decide on whether he (Seii) should continue with the role as chairman," King'ori said.

He said it may take some time before the council meets and decides on who should replace Rutere as due process must be followed.

“It’s not a one-day exercise as elders must meet and decide on who is the best candidate to fit the shoes of the ex-chairman," he said, adding that there is no crisis in the council as Seii is in charge.

Speaking to Star, Seii said he will be comfortable with any decision by the council.

He said all council members are equal despite any position that one holds.

Seii said Rutere demonstrated to the council what leadership is and whoever will be appointed must demonstrate those skills.

He said a meeting might be held next week to decide on the way forward and who  to fill the gap.

“Our constitution is simple; it dictates that once the chairman vacates office, his deputy automatically takes charge. Since I was deputy chairman, I filled the post as chairman awaiting election or decision of the council members," Seii said.

He maintained that several considerations are always put to test before appointing anyone to the position of chairman.

"Chairmanship is not designated to certain communities and anyone can take charge in the council as long as they can help unite the country," he said.

Kikuyu Council of Elders’ national chairman Samuel Maigua said the national  council will appoint someone with no political affiliation or political interests.

He echoed Seii's sentiment that the number one role of the council is to unite the country and shun divisive politics.

“There is no vacuum in our leadership. We we will hold a meeting to decide who is best suited to take charge of the council. The candidate must not have any political affiliation," he said, adding that they will look for someone who will make the council stronger ahead of the 2022 General Election.  

-Edited by SKanyara