It is during the lowest moments in life that you discover who your real friends are. Losing a job can be quite tough especially if you have nowhere to turn to and everyone else deserts you. After losing his lucrative government job, Prof. Bitange Ndemo phone went silent. The 30 plus calls he received per hour ceased.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
Who is Prof. Bitange Ndemo?
Professor Elijah Bitange Ndemo is a renowned ICT Champion, academician and a columnist for the Daily Nation and Business Daily. He currently works as a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Nairobi Business School.
He is the chairman of Kenya’s Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence Taskforce that will develop a roadmap for digital transformation in Kenya. He is also an advisor and board member in different organizations such as Safaricom, M-Pesa Foundation and Research ICT Africa.
He has also served in the past as Kenya’s Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication in the late president Kibaki’s government serving between 2005 and 2013.
The ex-PS also worked as a clerical officer at Kenya Power and Lighting Company. It’s from this job that he saved enough money to pay for his studies in the USA.
Prof. Ndemo sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) national examination in Ruiru Secondary School after attending four other different schools due to lack of school fees.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the same institution. He also holds a PHD in Industrial Economics from the prestigious University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.
The professor is married and father of two. He met his wife in a cafeteria and the two seemingly hit it off immediately. Bitange was discouraged from marrying his wife because she could easily down a 750ml vodka by herself. Sharing his journey on the inspirational talk, Engage, Prof Ndemo said of marriage to his wife:
“I came from America and I had one week to travel back. My priority was to find a woman within that time and marry because the American culture seemed weird to me.
“I met a woman at the Kenyatta National Hospital Cafeteria, gave her a date that night and that is how I got my wife.
I was however warned that she consumes whole 750ml vodka by herself but I chose to stick by her.”
Losing his job and Friends deserting him
After the President Kibaki administration term came to an end in 2013, Prof. Bitange Ndemo lost his lucrative job as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication, a position he had held for nearly eight years. The now jobless PS found out that most of the friends he had were just there courtesy of his position
“My phone went silent when I was fired, I then realized that I did not have friends, they were just my colleagues. The day I left the office, my phone stopped ringing. My ‘friends’ had moved on. I found myself checking my phone to establish if I had inadvertently put it off. The phone was fine,” his column of the Daily nation read in part.
He continued to recount how while still in office he would receive over 30 phone calls in an hour. He also stated that his emails dropped from as high as 200 a day to a paltry five, mostly from foreign friends checking up on him.
“There were many social calls from many old and new friends, people you would expect to keep in touch with even after leaving office. Strangely, such calls cease until you establish a new kind of relevance,” the professor narrated.
The former ICT Permanent Secretary has been appointed as Kenyan Ambassador to Belgium.