Just talking to mere mortals around town and hearing all kinds of stories is so refreshing. When you get to dig the details a little bit, you get some details which you didn’t know existed.
When I was in form one at Onjiko Secondary School in Nyando, I always wanted to be a journalist. I developed deep love for journalism but my dad wanted me to be an accountant because my elder brother, RIP bro, was doing well in his accounting after his CPA. My dad also knew that I was an A student in sciences and maths so he thought that my mathematical skills would be best utilised in keeping books.
So over the years, I grew up reading books (novels, plays and short stories mostly) but in the late 90s, I started reading stories about computers and what they could do. The person who I was very close to and knew more about computers was my late cousin, Moses Muga, who was in the Kenya army and was travelling all over in the peacekeeping missions. His travels to Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Sierra Leon and other countries exposed him a great deal to modern technology as the UN missions even, still use very modern in technology.
So in the late 90s, I read a story in the then East Africa Standard (now The Standard) about the 3 guys who started 3Mice. Betty Kukubo, Paul Kukubo and Ken Njoroge (now with Cellulant) were mentioned in the article. I felt inspired. In late 1999, I got to register for various ICT courses at Africa Virtual University. That is where my love for ICT grew. Kukubo was an inspiration to me.
Fast forward to now. Kukubo is running ICT Board like his private firm. He does not give a hoot to what critics say and to delude the stupid few that he really care, he will collect the small bunch of ignorant diaper kids, feed them lots of nonsense in the name of facts then dismiss the fools with a serving of coffee. Kukubo would laugh at them clapping not at Kukubo’s brilliance but their very ignorant selves (you remember Saitoti and the like clapping at Moi saying that there was no Minister who could succeed him? Yeah!) Kukubo will be secretly laughing his ass off as he drive away having successfully showed that critics of ICT Board are the enemy and not that ICT Board is the enemy of the techies.
These are the issues which I raise against Kukubo and by extension, PS Ndemo.
- Why should a foreigner find it easy to come to the country and benefit from, not private, but government grant? The biggest beneficiaries of the grant who are foreigners are not even our poor East African brothers and sisters whom I would have excused but those from giant economies like Sweden, Britain, India, Norway and Denmark. Kukubo should answer this after appraising himself to what all the relevant Kenyan laws say about investment and immigration.
- Must friends of Kukubo dominate all ICT Board appointments and awards. Look at the 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 awards and tell me if you don’t see associates of Kukubo dominating the awards. Why must it be so? Kukubo’s argument has been that he is not involved in any way in the award process. Then the question is “Who are those involved either as judges or managers?” kukubo’s claim that he is not involved in the process is like Minister Nyong’o claiming that he is not micromanaging NHIF nor Medical services ministry. The fact is that he is the in-charge and point of reference. All gains and loses by the establishment must be addressed by him.
- The third issue is what is the process and who are the judges? Why must the judges remain anonymous? How do we know that Kukubo has not appointed his wife as chief judge and sister as the assistant? What is the process of appointing the Tandaa grants judges? Why can’t they be revealed even after the award?
- Who qualifies for the award? Are they on need basis or even if Bill gates came to Kenya today, he will still fight for a share of the Ksh 4 million grant? I really respect Mikhul and believe that he is doing great with Eat Out Kenya but FYI, Mikhul is not poor. These are not allegations from some rumour mill but I have visited Mikhul at his Parklands offices which he owns. His apartment host many top tech companies including South Africa’s Bid or Buy, Solar Aid, Blankets and Wine among others. This issue should be addressed by Kukubo since when Agosta Liko of Pesapal asked him about it, his retort was “get off your high horse. There are more deserving Kenyans.” I need to know who between Mikhul and Liko has enough money so that we see if ICT Board’s criteria is right.
- Which ideas get recognised? Why can’t ICT Board boost the techies with ideas already running which they maintain in a tight budget instead of rewarding newbies? ICT Board will boast of higher success rate when they support those who are already running their ideas for more than 3 years albeit on a very tight budget but they have not lost hope. Apart from the As-a-Doc, all the other recipients of the 2010/2011 Tandaa grants award went down or the money can’t be accounted for because their were not enough checks put in place to guard again’t the theft. Maybe ICT Board benefited from kickbacks from the beneficiaries who never developed their ideas further.
More on Kukubo’s failings, read here
With all the above not well addressed, I think that Paul Kukubo should be immediately sacked from the ICT Board of Kenya and the board reconstituted and given a clear mandate.
Let me give you a short story about why Paul Kukubo has no business sense and is just an opportunistic parasite. While still the CEO of 3Mice, the company used to hire developers pay them peanuts and source for projects like the Nation Media Group’s website. That is why wakina Ken Njoroge ran away so fast. Here is how the website looked when 3mice handled it. 3mice charged NMG around Ksh 6 million for the development and a further Ksh 5 million for every year the company maintained the website among many other charges.
3mice used the then NMG Director of IT, Paul Richu as the front-man who also got huge kickbacks on the deal. Other small time thieves like now head of Tandaa, Kaburo Kobia, were then working under the NMG digital team as “web editors” copy pasting newspaper content into primitive html templates. The web editors were to keep an eye on the happenings at the twin towers. Before joining NMG digital team, Kaburo Kobia was working at 3Mice.
In late 2000s when someone introduced the idea of Content Management Systems (CMS like Joomla, Drupal and WordPress) to NMG, Paul Richu vehemently opposed the idea. he even opposed the purchase of the www.bdafrica.com domain . The new consultant proposed the iJoomla magazine system which you can remember that Business Daily website was built on until later when they changed to the new system. Richu then put all manner of roadblocks on the way of the new advisor. Linus Gitahi secretly asked the new consultant to present his case while Paul Richu also presented his argument against the idea. Paul Kukubo and Linus Gitahi were one time classmates and so he was in a very tricky situation.
Nation Media Group’s Lousy Content Management System is Revealed
Linus realised that CMS systems would deliver a powerful but cost-effective system to the group. The new CEO gradually edged out Paul Richu by giving him a soft landing in the business development before completely sacking him without drawing much attention to the move.
Though backed by the management, Paul Kukubo through the 3Mice delivered nothing but very expensive html pages to Nation media group. The sacking of Paul Richu from NMG was good enough no-confidence vote on the ability of Paul Kukubo.
3Mice has just remained a shell of its past with most clients looking elsewhere. They were recently evicted from the Kenyatta family owned The Chancery offices before moving to George Padmore Ridge.
Show me the work of 3Mice and what it was paid for and tell me if it was not a work of a con deceiving some ignorant corporate head.