Who is Ukur Yattani Kanacho
On 24th July 2019, after the resignation and subsequent arraignment in court of the immediate former Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Ukur Yattani as Acting Treasury Secretary. Ukur is the current Labour and Social Protection CS.
Who is Ukur Yattani?
Ukur is a Kenyan politician who served as Governor of Marsabit County from 2013 to 2017, was the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna from 2009 to 2012, and served as a Member of Parliament for North Horr Constituency in 2006. He was elected as a constituency MP after the indefatigable legendary former Foreign Minister Dr Bonaya Godana was killed in a plane crash.
Early life and education
Ukur was born in 1967 in Forole of North Horr sub-county to Yatani Kanacho, a prominent Gabra elder. In 1975, he started school in Maikona, and was then transferred to North Horr Primary school in 1978. He sat for his Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) in 1981 and emerged the top student in the then Marsabit District. He was given a scholarship by Jomo Kenyatta Foundation and he joined Garbatulla High school where he equally performed well and later joined Kabarnet High school for his A-levels between 1986 and 1987. Yatani received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology from Egerton University in 1991. In 2005, he joined the New York University in the UK and studied a Master of Public Administration and Public Policy.
In 2002, Yatani was appointed a District Officer and had a meteoric rise in his career. He quickly rose through the ranks from District Officer Cadet to a Senior District Officer and then promoted to a District Commissioner in July 2002. In this position he successfully coordinated state business, managed government resources, maintained law and order, directed disaster relief operations, and implemented long term strategic plans that improved government services and the lives of local residents.
After 4 years as a district commissioner, he contested and was elected as the Member of Parliament for North Horr constituency 2006. During this time Marsabit North District was created and Ukur spearheaded the formation of several administrative units across the constituency, leading to bringing services closer to the people in the most expansive County in the Country.
Yatani was then appointed as the Assistant Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology. In this position he offered policy direction to the ministry, represented the government in local and international talks and negotiations, and assisted the Minister in performing ministerial and government functions.
In 2009, Yatani began a multi-year mission to advance the interests of Kenya on the international stage. He was named Ambassador to Austria in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vienna. As the Ambassador to Austria, with accreditation to Hungary and Slovakia, he provided support and consular services to Kenyans living abroad and promoted trade and economic cooperation with a variety of European nations and thereby contributed to the realization of Kenya’s Vision 2030. Amb. Yatani also served as the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which works to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy around the world. Among the many accomplishments of the IAEA during Yatani’s tenure, was the strategic use of strength and diplomacy to deescalate and safeguard Iran’s nuclear capacity.
In addition to this, Amb. Yatani held senior leadership positions at various diplomatic and international agencies at the United Nations and also chaired the African Group of Ambassadors.
In the 2013 Marsabit local elections Amb. Yatani was elected to pioneer the devolved County Government becoming the leader of the largest county in the nation. As the Marsabit County Governor he was tasked with building the newly formed county from scratch, and as the chief executive he brought peace, development and economic prosperity to the region.
During his time as Governor, Amb. Yatani provided strategic leadership in setting up devolved governance structures, competent financial and human resource infrastructure and shaped the development agenda of Marsabit County.
Governor Yatani set out on an ambitious development journey and steered the roll-out of the County Integrated Development Plan (hailed as the best in the country by the UN) which included a variety of major initiatives, including the construction of new county offices, a four-storey modern market, a modern stadium, over a dozen health centers, and new tourist resort facility and 200 ECD classrooms.
Throughout his term he supported cultural festivals and the Lake Turkana Cultural Festival. He was nominated for India’s prestigious Tagore Award. Tagore Award is an award given in commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) for cultural harmony. Established in 2011 by Government of India, it is given for outstanding achievement in fostering harmony and universalism and values of cultural harmony especially in conflict or extreme situations through innovative systems/strategies and which have an enduring impact.
On 16 February 2018, Ambassador Ukur Yatani Kanacho was sworn in by the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta for Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.
Kanacho Nomadic Educational Foundation
According to the officials of the Foundation, Ukur along with his wife Dr. Gumato, Amb. Yatani founded the Kanacho Nomadic Educational Foundation in 2009. This charitable community development agency was first setup to address education and rural poverty challenges in Northern Kenya. As such it has rehabilitated classrooms, distributed books and sponsored hundreds of children. Building off this success, the foundation moved to further empower the pastoral communities and began efforts to reduce poverty and vulnerability among pastoral communities through transformational and sustainable development. These efforts have led to significant improvements in the sectors of water and health.