Ndemo to advise Kenyan president on ICT

After the General Elections this year, there was much anticipation regarding the ICT docket; some wondered whether the Bitange Ndemo, former Permanent Secretary in Info Comm would become the new Cabinet Secretary or he would continue his role as PS. Others thought he would go to the education ministry to implement the laptop project.

There are others who felt that there was need for new blood, that the ICT sector could benefit from someone with new ideas and momentum. Others felt that Ndemo already had his people and a new person would help with new alliances. Well, the alliances part has veterans, who support AGIP- Any Government In Power, so, whoever comes, they quickly line behind them.

After much politicking, it was clear that Ndemo was out and in was Fred Matiangi as the CS and another person was PS, where is this guy anyway? Depending on which side you were, there were tributes and jubilations.

Immediately after leaving, Ndemo got appointment to several places, most notable at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) among others. I guess it meant he had something to contribute.




After several months, the president, deputy, his hangers on and advisors must have realised that they made a mistake by just letting the guy go. He was appointed as the ICT advisor. I am not sure who is senior between him and the CS but I think the government must have realized they need him somewhere.

“My role is short term leading a project on Police automation starting with activation of 999 and 112 which are operational now.  We have also developed a citizen engagement portal that will help the police to receive information from the public on incidents and any other matter relating to public security,” Ndemo said.

I am one of those hoping that the automation process will go well and that this year’s connected gov summit will have new practical materials to discuss and not just theories and disconnected stuff.

So, does he think he will have any impact?

“This will greatly contribute to ICT sector.  For a starter, the 24 hour call center has 60 agents using art of state CRM software.  Leveraging on the technology will enhance service delivery and secure our people.  We shall build data analytic capabilities within the country.  As you know we have so much data but until we convert it into information, it will never help us in decision making,” he added.

It may be a short term project but in the end, maybe the government can automate, one department at a time. We want to see results 🙂


What Matiangi can learn from Ndemo

When it became obvious that Bitange Ndemo would not be taking over as the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication, the ICT community wondered who would wear the giant shoes left by Ndemo.

To calm the nerves and prepare for his exit, Ndemo wrote to the ICT industry and you can read it here.

So much has been said about Ndemo, both positive and negative but the thing I am most happy about is his easy approach; want to see him, drop him an email, get an appointment at 6 am or earlier. Want to interview him, drop the questions on email, and for some reason I would have answers in 24 hours, on email. No reminder, he will do it.

To understand better why I am not just praising the former PS, just read this post I did for Capital website  in 2008

From Ndemo’s introduction of Matiangi, you can see he tries to be cordial and act like they are friends. In reality, they are not and I am told Matiangi hates it when someone tries to refer to something Ndemo did, he just doesn’t like the guy. I remember during Connected Kenya this year, there was an event organised to honor Ndemo and Poghisio for their contribution to the ICT sector. Matiangi refused to attend. The PR story was that he was meeting the governor of Mombasa etc


Ndemo sees his departure as imminent…..

Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary is the Ministry of Information and Communication is probably the most clued PS in the country. He is very active on mailinglists discussing ICT in Kenya and in Africa.

For me, he has been great; I email him questions and the earliest opportunity he gets, he will respond. As a journalist, you get to appreciate such gestures because of deadlines and just the fact that we like doing things last minute.

On the Kictanet mailing list, Ndemo has said his good bye to the ICT sector, that is if his interview tomorrow doesn’t go well.

Here is what he has to say:

It is an open secret that my departure from the Ministry of Information
and Communications is imminent.  As seconds, minutes and days tick by; I
take this opportunity to bid you all farewell.

During the last seven years that I have worked here, I have learned a lot
from you all. I could not have benefited from the learning experience
without your constant support, criticism and encouragement.  If I have to
do it all over again, I would not change anything to perform my duties
well. In my position as Permanent Secretary, I have gained considerable
knowledge and thus I shall always cherish this, as one of the most
satisfying phases in my career.

Further, I have shared a special bond with all of you both virtually and
in reality.  I shall take away with me special memories of our time
together. I remain committed to ideals of Kictanet and would remain active
in its deliberations.  I must admit that I may have underestimated the
amount of pressure there is to aspire for a job.  There are politicians
from my county trying to create a wedge between myself, Dr. Matian’gi and
Hon. Nyachae.  Others from other parts of the country can be summed as
extortionists and possible toll collectors at every level.  I shall
however, take the interview on Thursday and if fate has it that I shall
once more serve my country then I shall proudly do so.

It is now my singular honour to introduce Dr. Fred Matian’gi, our Cabinet
Secretary nominee whom I have had the privilege of knowing for the past
many years.  While I was in Standard 7, Dr. Matian’gi had just started
standard 1 at Manga Primary School.  His sister Margaret was my classmate.
I have known him as an honest person and devout Seventh Day Adventist.
He has an impeccable record of integrity having served in several
governance programs.

Dr. Matian’gi is a fast learner and has extensively published.  We taught
at University of Nairobi together and his record as a lecturer was
faultless.  We simply have a great mind to steer our sector. I want to
take the earliest opportunity to wish him the best. Although Dr. Matian’gi
is a good friend, it will not be practical for us to work together.  The
constitution demands diversity.  We shall create fodder for politicians to
drive further wedge between us.  I have chosen friendship and will look
for alternative areas to serve my country.

Let me therefore wish each one of you the very best in all of our future

Bitange Ndemo.”