Mwende Gatabaki is a corporate leader and politician, currently eyeing the Kiambu County gubernatorial seat in the upcoming August 9, 2022, General Elections. She is also the wife to Kenya Kwanza Alliance economic advisor, David Ndii.
She boasts over 20 years of experience in organizational leadership expertise, having worked with government, public and private sector organizations at national, continental and global levels.
Mwende has recently gained popularity in Kiambu County thanks to her hard stance on matters of development and desire to restore the county to its deserved glory. She strongly champions for Africa’s smallholder farming model as the key solution to food and nutritional security, improved livelihoods, job creation and climate change resilience.
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She boasts a decorated resume and is an epitome of corporate success as evidenced by her stints at various companies both locally and globally. Here’s her story as told by WoK.
Background & Education
Mwende was born and raised in Githunguri, Kiambu county. She is the daughter of former Githunguri Member of Parliament, Senior Chief Peter Gatabaki of Thakwa.
She attended Githunguri Primary School and later proceeded to Limuru Girls High School. From 1987 and 1990, she attended Kenyatta University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.
Mwende joined the University of Salford in the UK in 1992 and graduated with a post-graduate diploma in computer science in 1994. She attended the United States International University (USIU) between 1994 and 1996 and obtained a Masters in Management and Organisational Development.
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After completing her studies, Mwende landed a job with USAID as a network administrator. She served in the job for four years before proceeding to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) as an IT manager.
She joined the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) in 2004 and held the position of ICT Group General Manager for six years until 2010.
After leaving KTDA, Mwende served as a special advisor to the first president and chief operating officer of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) between 2010 and 2014.
The aspiring Kiambu governor returned to Kenya in March 2014, after President Uhuru Kenyatta wrote to the AfDB president asking that she be allowed to come back to the country and work on the digital transformation of the government.
She was appointed as the acting director-general of Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Service, and project director at Umoja Kenya, where she served between March 2014 and June 2015. The project was intended to enhance security following the 2013 Westgate attack.
Mwende has also served as a senior public sector advisor in East Africa (Partner level) at McKinsey & Company. She held the role between July 2015 and October 2016. She was tasked with building the public sector practice to deepen the company’s socio-economic impact and grow revenues.
She was later promoted to practice leader at Lattice Consulting Limited, a boutique advisory, and investment firm with a clientele across the private and public sectors in East, West and Southern Africa. She held the job between January 2018 and June 2020
She is the founder and current Managing Director of Africa Aquaculture Development Company Ltd (AADeC).
According to her LinkedIn page, AADeC is a pioneering agribusiness that aims to develop and commercialize Africa’s smallholder fish farming value chain – meeting food security, maximising incomes for smallholder farmers, creating jobs, and meeting the economic goals of the marginalized communities.
During her reign that KTDA, the company became the first African organisation to clinch the global CIO 100 Award in 2009.
“The CIO 100 Awards celebrates 100 organizations and the teams within them that are using IT in innovative ways to deliver business value, whether by creating competitive advantage, optimizing business processes, enabling growth or improving relationships with customers,” the company website states.
Mwende was awarded the Excellence in ICT Utilization and Management honour at the [email protected] Years Awards in December 2013.
Mwende is eyeing the Kiambu County gubernatorial seat. She will go up against Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi (UDA), former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo (Tijibebe Wakenya Party), Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria (Chama Cha Kazi), and Kiambu governor James Nyoro (Jubilee Party).
She will contest the seat on a Safina Party ticket.
“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.