When President Uhuru Kenyatta announced he had picked Margaret Nyakang’o as his nominee for the next Controller of Budget (CoB) on Tuesday, a section of social media lit up with enquiries about the contender. Many seemed not to know her.
To female golfers, however, the news was uplifting. The nominee is a household name in women golf circles and insiders say her dedication to the development of the sport is “overwhelming”.
Despite her busy schedule teaching and consulting on finance and accountancy, Dr Nyakang’o has a passion for golf. Her volunteerism in the improvement of the sport over the past decade is noticeable.
She has been a council member of the Kenya Ladies Golf Union since October 2013 — during which she has assisted in managing Golfer of the Year events and served as a joint convener for the ladies’ Matchplay besides being a member of the taskforce for amending the constitution of the Union.
At the Limuru Country Club, Nyakang’o has served as a member of the Finance committee since January 2013 — solidifying her passion for the game.
“I served in the Club Finance Committee, helping with the financial policies and regulations as well as reporting on a pro bono basis,” she says on her LinkedIn page.
Away from sporting, Dr Nyakang’o is active in financial management and has served in key positions in several top State agencies as well as private companies.
A graduate of the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, Dr Nyakang’o doubles up as a lecturer in public sector finance at the KCA University and a management consultant at Mitun Business Consulting Limited (MBCL) — a private firm which offers business solutions in strategic workforce, tax and financial planning as well as training.
The nominee previously served as the director in-charge of Finance and Administration at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) for a decade until October 2018. She was tasked with providing financial advisory to the KNBS board, through the Finance and Administration Committee.
Dr Nyakang’o was also a member and financial adviser to the KNBS tender committee in charge of all accounting and financial reporting. Further, she was the liaison with KNBS’ external auditors.
Before joining KNBS, the nominee served as Deputy General Manager in-charge of Finance and Strategy at the giant Harambee Sacoo Society for three years between March 2003 and March 2006.
Earlier in her career, she worked as the financial controller of the Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) and Bob Morgan Security Services Limited as finance manager.
Should Parliament approve her nomination, she will replace Ms Agnes Odhiambo, whose eight-year non-renewable term ended on August 27.
Critics point out that a new CoB faces a daunting task of taming wastage of funds amid economic adversity. The CoB is technically the gatekeeper of the Consolidated Fund and is mandated by the Constitution to acts as the first line of defence against pilferage or abuse of public funds.
The Controller of Budget Office has recently come under criticism following the revelation of mega scandals such as those on the controversial Arror and Kimwarer dams and the National Youth Service (NYS) projects. For instance, the manner in which payments for the dam projects were released without due consideration of the milestone covered has been a hot potato for the office of the CoB.
The next occupant of the office will have to deal with such issues and put to check all public spending. The new office bearer must also be ready to tackle aberration by the National Treasury which still hosts key functions such as internal audit and day-to-day management of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) for both the ministries and department al and county governments.
Dr Nyakang’o styles herself as a go-getter and articulate planner.
She describes herself as “a diligent and self-motivated team leader as well as player, with solid skills and experience in a wide variety of organisations in both public and private sectors of the Kenyan economy.”
Her strong background in accounting and audit complements doctoral level strategic management and organisational development skills for a well-rounded consultant with research interests in strategic workforce planning.
She described herself as “a believer in democratic governance and integrity”.
Dr Nyakang’o beat 13 other contenders to clinch the nomination.
The others in the list of interviewees were; Justus Nyamunga, who sits in the Budget unit at State House, Judith Akuma, Duncan Otieno, Edith King’ori, Leornard Lari, James Akeyo, Celestine Munda, Muinde Patrick, Karen Njeri, Macklin Ogolla, Elizabeth Mwathi and Abubakar Abdirahman.