Mwende Gatabaki: Illustrious 20-Year Career of Kiambu Gubernatorial Candidate

  • Mwende Gatabaki, the wife of economist David Ndii
    Mwende Gatabaki, the wife of economist David Ndii
  • On Sunday, June 26, the much-anticipated Kiambu gubernatorial debate lived up to its expectations, with four out of six candidates sharing a podium and addressing an array of issues. 

    One candidate, in particular, Mwende Gatabaki, stood out over her eloquence and affirmative answers during the entire session. Minutes after the debate, Mwende Gatabaki trended for the better part of the night and into the wee hours of Monday morning, June 27. 

    A particular quote elicited debate online as Gatabaki pointed out that it was time for Kiambu county to inject fresh blood into governance. 

    Mwende Gatabaki speaking to the media in December 2017.
    Mwende Gatabaki speaks to the media in December 2017.

    "You cannot have someone who has been there over the last ten years telling you that they are going to change. They cannot change. Leopards grow old but they don't lose their spots," she stated.

    Gatabaki, who is seeking the county's top seat under the Safina party ticket, has amassed over 20 years of experience working with government, the private sector and global organizations. 

    She is the daughter of Senior Chief Peter Gatabaki of Thakwa who is also a former Githunguri member of parliament. She studied a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics between 1987 and 1990. 

    She then pursued a post-graduate diploma in computer science at Salford University between 1994 and 1996 and later, USIU for a master's in management and organisational development for two years. 

    Over the years, Gatabaki lived a reclusive lifestyle and chose to steer clear of the limelight despite her husband, renowned economist, David Ndii's public fame. 

    As an ICT specialist, she served as a Network and Oracle Database Administrator at USAID in 1996 before moving to Kenya Wildlife Service as an Information Systems Services Manager. 

    Gatabaki then joined the United Nations in the Field Support Services department where she dealt with providing management and coordination of the delivery of information services in the country offices across Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.

    After working for seven years, the renowned tech guru was appointed as the ICT Group General Manager- a position that solidified her managerial status as she transformed the small-scale tea farming sector. During her tenure, KTDA became the first African organisation to win the global CIO Award in 2009. 

    Gatabaki was poached by the African Development Bank Group where she served as a special advisor to the First Vice President between 2010 and 2014 before President Uhuru Kenyatta sent a request to the AFDB president to allow Gatabaki to come back to Kenya in order to champion the digital transformation of his administration and to advise on matters ICT.  

    Her political fame began in December 2017 when she sent a request to President Kenyatta seeking the release of her husband, who at the time was in police custody. 

    "The president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta is the one who sent a special request to the president of the African development bank requesting for me to come and champion the presidential digital transformation of government,

     "I am asking the president where is that gentleman in 2014 who asked me to come and create a single source of truth to create transparency, this is not transparent,” she told reporters at the time. 

    A file image of economist David Ndii during an interview
    A file image of economist David Ndii during an interview
    Daily Nation