From archives to this day… Kenyans are hoping that the man once rejected by two Presidents still have some magic not yet revealed. Will his bottoms up economic model that has kicked off with Ksh. 500 given to the hustlers- soon prove to be the philosophers stone?”

In 2003, David Ndii was tasked by former President Mwai Kibaki to develop an Economic Recovery Strategic Plan to bolster the economy under the NARC Government.
He was to work closely with Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, who was then the Minister for Planning and National Development. He found a way to avoid being guided through by Nyong’o, as he wanted to get all the credit for the plan.

“Upon completion of the paper, Ndii handed it over to the then Head of Civil Service Amb. Francis Muthaura, who was also a close confidant of President Mwai Kibaki. When Muthaura shared the paper with Kibaki, the president trashed it saying, “This reads like a first-year economics essay.”

“President Kibaki then called Joseph Kinyua, who was then Permanent Secretary for Planning, and instructed him to rewrite the paper. Mr. Kinyua brought together a solid team to work on this and the end product of their assignment is what we know today as Vision 2030 Economic Blueprint.

“Ndii felt slighted. He resulted to spewing sour grapes against Kibaki’s handling of the economy by fighting his economic programs in his regular newspaper columns. He reserved his punches on the infrastructure projects which were being implemented on the strength of the Vision 2030. He often referred to the ambitious Thika Superhighway as a white elephant project. Mind you the superhighway has in the last 12 years unlocked in a huge way the economic potential of areas along the 50KM stretch that it cuts through.

“Fast forward to 2008, when President Paul Kagame’s government reached out to Kenya for assistance to recruit top advisors to his administration. The then Rwandan Ambassador engaged Prof. Mutahi Ngunyi to help with the recruitment process, from among the country’s top intellectuals. Ndii was among the people who was recruited in this process, as an economic advisor.

“The salary negotiated with World Bank for Ndii’s services was $20,000, an equivalent of Ksh2 million per month based on current exchange rates. After three Months, allegedly the Rwandan ambassador called Prof. Ngunyi and lamented that he was going to fire one of the guys he had recruited. The guy to be fired happened to be Ndii, and the reasons for his firing included incompetence and a condescending attitude. He would abuse members of the mainly youthful team (some of them drawn from Tony Blair’s Delivery Unit). He demoralized the team and he himself could not deliver.

“The incompetent, problematic man rejected by 2 sitting presidents is now the lead economic advisor; the one energetically pushing a phoney economic model which he has branded as wheelbarrow-nomics,” wrote Pauline Njoroge on Facebook.


David Ndii (born in Kiambu, Kenya) is an economist, columnist, and author. He is described as “one of Africa’s best-known economists and an outspoken anti-corruption crusader.

He is a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. Ndii holds a doctorate and master’s degrees in economics from Oxford, masters and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nairobi.

For several years, he was chief strategist of the National Super Alliance coded NASA.

He later became an open critic of the economic policy of the Uhuru Kenyatta administration, writing several open letters and tweets criticizing the government’s economic policies and borrowing of loans.  

Ndii opposed Kenyatta and Prime Minister Raila Odinga handshake project, called the BBI. Together with other activists, he petitioned the High Court of Kenya in the landmark case, which was argued all the way to the Supreme Court of Kenya, leading to the collapse of the Building Bridges Initiative.

He would go on to support the presidential bid of William Ruto. He subsequently was involved in crafting the Kenya Kwanza manifesto, which was anchored on the bottom-up economic model. After Ruto won the Presidency, Ndii was appointed the chairperson of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) in President Ruto’s State House. Many are now curious if his economic model will work as anticipated or get a third sacking?

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