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Wife of new Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa melts hearts with message to hubby

Moments after Safaricom Plc announced the appointment of Peter Ndegwa as their new chief executive officer, his wife Jemimah Ndegwa penned a stirring congratulatory message to her husband.

In the heartfelt message, an excited Jemimah echoed that Ndegwa’s appointment was the culmination of his sheer hard work and dedication.

‘‘I’ve experienced first-hand the long hours (you clocked) and your commitment to self and others,’’ she wrote on Facebook.

She described him as a risk-taker who never shied away from venturing into ‘‘challenging markets’’, noting that this experience had put him in good stead to lead Kenya’s largest and most profitable company.

Mr Ndegwa, whose tenure officially starts on April 1, 2020, has previously worked in Nigeria and Ghana, where he is credited with turning around the fortunes of subsidiaries of the global beverage maker Diageo.

‘‘I know, just as has been the case, integrity and humility will continue to be your trademark in this new role,’’ she added, pledging her family’s prayers and support.

‘‘…exaltation doesn’t come from the east, the west or south, but from God.’’

REACTIONS

On social media, Kenyans welcomed the appointment of Mr Ndegwa with hearty messages of goodwill, while others reminded him that he had his work cut out for him.

‘‘Peter Ndegwa is one of the best brains in Kenya and Africa. If you don’t have confidence in him, you’re the problem,’’ Daniel Mwaniki tweeted.

Allen Arnold was confident that ‘‘Ndegwa would take Safaricom to new heights’’.

‘‘We wish him all the best as he assumes his new role,’’ said Cytonn Investments in a tweet.

‘‘There are a lot of expectations (from Kenyans). There are (also) things to prove wrong or right. Give it all the best,’’ said Cheserek, a Twitter user.

PRESSURE

Another user Martin Ngugi said: ‘‘He has a lot to do. The identity of customers should be protected.’’

Safaricom was quick to dismiss claims that they had finally bowed to pressure from the government to appoint a Kenyan for the CEO job.

Interim CEO Michael Joseph said that Mr Ndegwa’s appointment was based on merit and ‘‘natural progression’’ rather than caving to external pressure.

‘‘He has deep experience with multinationals. He was the best choice for the job,’’ said Mr Joseph.

Earlier this year, the government rejected Safaricom’s choice to replace the late Bob Collymore when he announced his exit. ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru wondered if Safaricom could not find a Kenyan suitable for the job.

‘‘It will be hard for them to justify (a foreigner’s appointment). What is so special about telecoms?” CS Mucheru posed during an interview with Reuters.

In May, Safaricom announced that they had extended Collymore’s contract for 12 months. He died on July 1.

Others such as deported political activist Miguna Miguna though were critical of his appointment. In a tweet, Mr Miguna termed Mr Ndegwa and others ‘‘mafia rigging machine’’, arguing that Mr Ndegwa, head of ICT at Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) James Muhatia and National Intelligence Service (NIS) Philip Wachira are all from one ethnic group.