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David Ndii: Kenya’s truest public intellectual

Dr David Ndii is known to take on President Uhuru Kenyatta in a way no other person can dare. What’s more, Ndii who is an acclaimed Economist has made a number of predictions regarding Kenya’s economy which have come to pass.

When most Kenyans were enthusiastic about the Standard Gauge Railway, Ndii rubbished the project, rooting for the refurbishment of the old line at a far much cheaper cost and which he reasoned would have served the same purpose.

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It has since emerged that some people close to power used the project to enrich themselves. The former NASA strategist is also known to point out at corruption and plunder of public resources.

On Twitter, Dr Ndii who is no doubt Kenya’s number one public intellectual engages with followers of all shades. On the platform, his followers who number over 750K tag him on matters economics for guidance and to hear his perspectives.

However, Ndii is mercurial and his tackles come strong. Recently, he dismissed a tweep with few followers to go back to Facebook.

The tweep had commented on Ndii’s thread in a manner that Ndii reasoned was intellectually insufficient.

But perhaps the most publicised spat was the “Sonko Malong” tag which has stuck on flamboyant lawyer Donald Kipkorir who had suggested ” wash wash” economics – the government of Kenya should print billions of Kenyan currency and inject it into the economy to help citizens deal with the harsh outcomes of COVID-19.

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Thoroughly walloped, Kipkorir vanished and even blocked Ndii, saying he could not engage with someone sold to namecalling and who was tuck in the economics of the past.

But Kipkorir would emerge about a week later after Ndii was engaged in a longwinded spat with lawyer Miguna Miguna.

After trending for a whole day, Ndii changed his name on Twitter to Educated Chokoraa, Spricht Deutsch (German for Educated Chokoraa speaks German).

When a tweep asked him what informed his choice of new name. Ndii’s answer gave a glimpse of his driving force as a public intellectual.

” Too shallow, pretentious hypocritical highly schooled poorly educated #UppperDeckPeopleKE who think that intellectual discourse is a preserve of the uppercrust and must be confined to refined elitist language and intellectuals shouldn’t engage holloi polloi,” said Ndii.

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Unknown to many Ndii advised the Mwai Kibaki NARC administration on the Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) credited with the post-2003 recovery of the Kenyan economy.

Born in Kiambu county, Dr Ndii holds a doctorate degree from Oxford University. He is married to Mwende Gatabaki, an Information Technology expert with whom they have one daughter.

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