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Rebecca Wanjiku blazed by Ministry of ICT for her blatant lies and misrepresentation

Rebecca Wanjiku

There is more than meets the eye from the accusations flying around from the email lists of the Kenyan Internet fraternity, one internet journalist has come under fire from her recent post that was aimed at giving a little piece of her mind to the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication, the ICT community who is relatively a new comer to his ministry.

Apparently, according Wanjiku, her blog, What Matiangi can learn from Ndemo

 “introduction to Matiangi wasn’t a very pleasant one; the first time I happened to be seated near support staff complaining about one of those things that if I write it will appear personal. The second I was just a spectator and just listened to the Q&A from journalists, the third was yesterday”

Wanjiku is not new to controversy due to her style or approach of writing and storytelling which is probably gladiatorial. She has been a writing contributor to Computer World and the likes of serious magazines to blogosphere and may have had a serious of complaints and rebuttals for the past few years in her write-up and storytelling.

Her subject of writing was the style of leadership that the new Kenya ICT Cabinet Secretary was using; Rebecca Wanjiku suggests that Dr. Matiangi should be like Dr. Ndemo in terms of his approachability and understanding of the ICT matters, She writes that

“To be honest and from the many years doing interviews, I knew Matiangi had no clue by minute two, I tried to ask whether they had agreed on which company would lay which areas and whether the county structure would affect and honestly, the guy drew a blank.”

Well forgive the writer who seeks pardon but I think she pulled a fast one, Dr. Matiangi has barely scratched the surface in grasping his footing of the massive ICT sector of Kenya, we cannot under estimate his knowledge and indepthness yet as he is trying to manage a newly streamlined ministry that has probably had mergers and a few changes. Further, the government is coming a difficult transitional time and it may be the most difficult time to try and match the speed of his predecessors.

In her contradictory blog in the past, as someone who has criticized Ndemo’s position while he led the delegation to WCIT, it is interesting to see her require the current Minister look up to leadership she criticized.

From Wanjiku’s article, let us first draw some parallels.

Dr. Ndemo and Samuel Poghisio

Dr Matiangi is a Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication and equivalent of the Former Minister Samuel Poghisio. So its literally wrong to Compare the two, Dr. Ndemo was a former Permanent Secretary and is the predecessor of the new Principal Secretary: Mr. Joseph Musuni Tiampaty.

When we are criticized, however- which we will always expect and take in our stride- we hope people are at least factual- even about reporting events- and more focused on the work we do rather than rumours and gossip.

On awareness of the issues, the new Office of ICT needs its own time to catch up and come to the lime light, Wanjiku may have been a little abrasive by suggesting that “Matiangi had no clue”

In his response to Wanjiku, the Cabinet Secretary Dr. Matiangi says

“I must confess however that in the 5 months I have been in public space, there are times one feels very frustrated and almost like one is being asked to unlearn many things- even about the most basic moral issues like telling simple truths.

I read Wanjiku’s post and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Why would anybody tell such blatant lies about someone they hardly know? Many of my colleagues at the Ministry told me not to bother to respond, but I think it was too personal not to be commented on.”

Dr. Fred Matiangi.
Cabinet Secretary for ICT.

He goes on to remember his introduction to the Kenya ICT net-sphere saying “The advice given to me was that in all these interactions, I would meet diverse views on various aspects of policy in the ICT sector generally. I try to ‘check in’ from time to time and keenly follow conversations on a number of policy issues.  I have learned a lot from some of these exchanges. I have met very insightful and deep thinkers; and interesting others too.”

Dr. Matiangi goes on to respond that

 “It is very frustrating to operate in the space of rumour mongering. I sincerely think it is very demeaning for Dr. Ndemo and many of all of us his friends and colleagues to engage in such a cheap discussion as being proposed here about his and my relationship that’s over three decades old and much deeper and more expansive than our interaction at the Ministry of Information or generally in the ICT sector. It is very unfortunate- to say the very least.

Hate is a very strong term to use, especially to describe a relationship between two people one of whom you begin by confessing you do not know much of. I will let all readers and serious decent people who interact with this unfortunate discussion be the judges.

Here it’s apparent how hard it is to defend yourself when someone is trying hard to compare working styles.

However from the subsequent threads, Dr. Matiangi is recieveing lost of support and advice as to how he will have to deal with the “tyranny of demands on our time to return some of the heavy traffic of e-mails, enquiries etc. that come to the Ministry”. The Kenyan Net-Sphere will have to deal with accepting different management styles of leadership and find the best way to support as well as constructively criticize leadership in the ICT ministry; meanwhile I sure think there are going to be more articles and emails trying to compare the leaderships.

It will be worthwhile to remember that Dr. Ndemo has been in the space for more than seven years, and that is quite some time to gain knowledge at the finger tips, Dr. Matiangi has been in for less than a year, he may need more time to chart his course too. The reporters like Rebecca Wanjiku will have to be patient and perhaps learn a new way to approach different sets of leadership and not be stuck up on my old ways

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October 10th, 2013



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