Meet Kenyan Who Quit Lucrative UN Job to Work for Anyang' Nyong'o

  • Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o's Chief of Staff Abdallah Kassim at his office.
    Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o's Chief of Staff Abdallah Kassim at his office.
    Kevin Omollo/ LRB
  • American author Nora Roberts once said that there's no reward without work, no victory without effort and no battle won without risk.

    The adage seems true for Abdallah Kassim, who quit his lucrative post at the United Nations to work for Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o as his Chief of Staff. 

    Pointing out that taking risks as his cup of tea, Kassim welcomed the challenge brought about by leaving a plum job at the UN, where he had worked for 17 years, in order to take up a county government job whose security is not guaranteed.

    Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong'o.
    Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong'o.

    "With all the money and privileges at the UN side, what satisfied me was the kind of transformation we left in the lives of the people we served.

    "I came here knowing very well Kisumu may not offer all that money, luxury and privileges, but I came to support the Governor in the journey of transforming the lives of Kisumu people," Kassim stated in a past interview. 

    At UN, his work involved building partnerships, identifying projects and programs, negotiating with donors and recipient countries on their implementation.

    He termed his move as audacious but ultimately rewarding if he's able to make significant contributions towards the county government.

    "Only the Governor and his deputy cannot be sacked in this government. All the rest are dismissible including myself. So anyone who cannot help the Governor deliver his mandate to the people, they better pack their bags and depart government before we run them out of service," he noted.

    "Just like (Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, Professor Nyong'o has no one to be substituted with at this critical time in the history of Kisumu. His contribution in governance is unmatched. We are here to help restructure this government in preparation for the next five-year term," he added.

    Born in Kisumu, Kassim attended Lake Primary school and later joined Kisumu Day Secondary school. He then moved to Uganda to undertake a Bachelors Degree in Development Communication at Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU).

    Kassim later pursued a Masters Degree at the University of Nairobi (UoN) and is currently pursuing a PhD. His first job entailed working at the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres for four years before ultimately joining UN. 

    United Nations Tower in New York City
    United Nations Tower in New York City.
    United Nations