President Ruto NSE early arrival sends corporate chiefs into frenzy

President William Ruto was received by Nairobi Securities Exchange chairman Kiprono Kittony during the bell-ringing ceremony to mark the launch of the Enhanced Nairobi Securities Exchange Marketplace on October 11, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

President William Ruto Tuesday arrived at the NSE bell-ringing ceremony 25 minutes early, catching top officials at the bourse unawares.

The head of state arrived at 8:20am, before his expected arrival time of 8:45am.

His early arrival left corporate Kenya titans, who were holed up in the fifth-floor waiting room, scrambling to get to the entrance of the building where Dr Ruto had disembarked from his vehicle.

He would be received by NSE chairman Kiprono Kittony who ushered him past a battery of journalists shielded by security men.

In his speech, Mr Kittony thanked the head of state for making his maiden trip to the bourse very early on in his reign.

“The other historical thing apart from your Excellencies being here is I cannot remember the last time we’ve had a high-level function as this on time. I once visited Japan and I was told if you’re asked to attend a function at 9am, be there at quarter to nine,” he said.

“We expected your Excellency at quarter to nine, you were here at 8.3am so we were all running around the lift, and we almost broke our legs. If this is the way Kenya is going to go, there are two things business people like, one is time-keeping, and two, decisiveness. We like a yes or a no answer.”

He said a no answer is as good as a yes, because it helps business leaders save time.

High-profile guests

Among the retinue of high-profile guests who have visited the exchange are the US trade secretary, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in the 1990s, late President Daniel arap Moi, twice hosted by the bourse including a month after his re-election to office in 1998, a parallel drawn by the Dyer & Blair chairman Jimnah Mbaru Dr Ruto’s visit to the trading floor comes 28 days after his election.

Former President Mwai Kibaki visited the exchange four times.

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