Paul Kukubo is a Selfish Leech Who Needs to Be Sacked From ICT Board ASAP

Posted In Technology - By robertalai On Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 With 21 Comments

Just talking to mere mortals around town and hearing all kinds of stories is so refreshing. When you get to dig the details a little bit, you get some details which you didn’t know existed.

When I was in form one at Onjiko Secondary School in Nyando, I always wanted to be a journalist. I developed deep love for journalism but my dad wanted me to be an accountant because my elder brother, RIP bro, was doing well in his accounting after his CPA. My dad also knew that I was an A student in sciences and maths so he thought that my mathematical skills would be best utilised in keeping books.

So over the years, I grew up reading books (novels, plays and short stories mostly) but in the late 90s, I started reading stories about computers and what they could do. The person who I was very close to and knew more about computers was my late cousin, Moses Muga, who was in the Kenya army and was travelling all over in the peacekeeping missions. His travels to Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Sierra Leon and other countries exposed him a great deal to modern technology as the UN missions even, still use very modern in technology.

So in the late 90s, I read a story in the then East Africa Standard (now The Standard) about the 3 guys who started 3Mice. Betty Kukubo, Paul Kukubo and Ken Njoroge (now with Cellulant) were mentioned in the article. I felt inspired. In late 1999, I got to register for various ICT courses at Africa Virtual University. That is where my love for ICT grew. Kukubo was an inspiration to me.

Fast forward to now. Kukubo is running ICT Board like his private firm. He does not give a hoot to what critics say and to delude the stupid few that he really care, he will collect the small bunch of ignorant diaper kids, feed them lots of nonsense in the name of facts then dismiss the fools with a serving of coffee. Kukubo would laugh at them clapping not at Kukubo’s brilliance but their very ignorant selves (you remember Saitoti and the like clapping at Moi saying that there was no Minister who could succeed him? Yeah!) Kukubo will be secretly laughing his ass off as he drive away having successfully showed that critics of ICT Board are the enemy and not that ICT Board is the enemy of the techies.

These are the issues which I raise against Kukubo and by extension, PS Ndemo.

  • Why should a foreigner find it easy to come to the country and benefit from, not private, but government grant? The biggest beneficiaries of the grant who are foreigners are not even our poor East African brothers and sisters whom I would have excused but those from giant economies like Sweden, Britain, India, Norway and Denmark. Kukubo should answer this after appraising himself to what all the relevant Kenyan laws say about investment and immigration.
  • Must friends of Kukubo dominate all ICT Board appointments and awards. Look at the 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 awards and tell me if you don’t see associates of Kukubo dominating the awards. Why must it be so? Kukubo’s argument has been that he is not involved in any way in the award process. Then the question is “Who are those involved either as judges or managers?” kukubo’s claim that he is not involved in the process is like Minister Nyong’o claiming that he is not micromanaging NHIF nor Medical services ministry. The fact is that he is the in-charge and point of reference. All gains and loses by the establishment must be addressed by him.
  • The third issue is what is the process and who are the judges? Why must the judges remain anonymous? How do we know that Kukubo has not appointed his wife as chief judge and sister as the assistant? What is the process of appointing the Tandaa grants judges? Why can’t they be revealed even after the award?
  • Who qualifies for the award? Are they on need basis or even if Bill gates came to Kenya today, he will still fight for a share of the Ksh 4 million grant? I really respect Mikhul and believe that he is doing great with Eat Out Kenya but FYI, Mikhul is not poor. These are not allegations from some rumour mill but I have visited Mikhul at his Parklands offices which he owns. His apartment host many top tech companies including South Africa’s Bid or Buy, Solar Aid, Blankets and Wine among others. This issue should be addressed by Kukubo since when Agosta Liko of Pesapal asked him about it, his retort was “get off your high horse. There are more deserving Kenyans.” I need to know who between Mikhul and Liko has enough money so that we see if ICT Board’s criteria is right.
  • Which ideas get recognised? Why can’t ICT Board boost the techies with ideas already running which they maintain in a tight budget instead of rewarding newbies? ICT Board will boast of higher success rate when they support those who are already running their ideas for more than 3 years albeit on a very tight budget but they have not lost hope. Apart from the As-a-Doc, all the other recipients of the 2010/2011 Tandaa grants award went down or the money can’t be accounted for because their were not enough checks put in place to guard again’t the theft. Maybe ICT Board benefited from kickbacks from the beneficiaries who never developed their ideas further.

More on Kukubo’s failings, read here 

With all the above not well addressed, I think that Paul Kukubo should be immediately sacked from the ICT Board of Kenya and the board reconstituted and given a clear mandate.

Let me give you a short story about why Paul Kukubo has no business sense and is just an opportunistic parasite. While still the CEO of 3Mice, the company used to hire developers pay them peanuts and source for projects like the Nation Media Group’s website. That is why wakina Ken Njoroge ran away so fast. Here is how the website looked when 3mice handled it. 3mice charged NMG around Ksh 6 million for the development and a further Ksh 5 million for every year the company maintained the website among many other charges.

3mice used the then NMG Director of IT, Paul Richu as the front-man who also got huge kickbacks on the deal. Other small time thieves like now head of Tandaa, Kaburo Kobia, were then working under the NMG digital team as “web editors” copy pasting newspaper content into primitive html templates. The web editors were  to keep an eye on the happenings at the twin towers. Before joining NMG digital team, Kaburo Kobia was working at 3Mice.

In late 2000s when someone introduced the idea of Content Management Systems  (CMS like Joomla, Drupal and WordPress) to NMG, Paul Richu vehemently opposed the idea. he even opposed the purchase of the domain . The new consultant proposed the iJoomla magazine system which you can remember that Business Daily website was built on until later when they changed to the new system. Richu then put all manner of roadblocks on the way of the new advisor. Linus Gitahi secretly asked the new consultant to present his case while Paul Richu also presented his argument against the idea. Paul Kukubo and Linus Gitahi were one time classmates and so he was in a very tricky situation.

Nation Media Group’s Lousy Content Management System is Revealed

Linus realised that CMS systems would deliver a powerful but cost-effective system to the group. The new CEO gradually edged out Paul Richu by giving him a soft landing in the business development before completely sacking him without drawing much attention to the move.

Though backed by the management, Paul Kukubo through the 3Mice delivered nothing but very expensive html pages to Nation media group. The sacking of Paul Richu from NMG was good enough no-confidence vote on the ability of Paul Kukubo.

3Mice has just remained a shell of its past with most clients looking elsewhere. They were recently evicted from the Kenyatta family owned The Chancery offices before moving to George Padmore Ridge.

Show me the work of 3Mice and what it was paid for and tell me if it was not a work of a con deceiving some ignorant corporate head.

About - Robert is an African Tech Blogger, Critic, Net Evangelist, Speaker, Mentor for Young Boys and Girls, Editor @TechMtaa and likes to Provide Sanitary Towels To Poor Women through the DishAPad Initiative

  • Edu

    Spot on!!!!

    • Edwin Maina

      I do not know the many things that you accuse him of.
      What I know is that I took Paul Kukubo a proposal to promote Coca Cola
      when he was the boss at Mcan Erickson at Upper Hill. Mcan Erickson were the media buyers for Coke. Kukubo told me that my proposal was unworkable and called it a ‘lazy effort.’ I was shocked to see the same concept used for Coke promotion in December of that year (I think 1998 or 1999).

  • Mikul Shah

    Hey, I respect your opinion, don’t really want to get involved in what I feel is a personal issue with the names mentioned, but I think you have some facts incorrect – I do not own the building in question. It is owned by family members and Eat Out pays rent as do other tenants such as Kenya Buzz, Bid or Buy, Sleep Out, Solar Aid, Blankets & Wine.

    I actually only want to comment on your point about who qualifies for the award. US$50,000 is a significant amount of money for any company and I think the ICT board have a difficult task, but as a winner in 2012 I truly think our proposal was deserving. We hope to create a product that will be beneficial to the economy, will employ kenyans and are arguably better placed to actually make it work due to our track record. (And trust me it’s been a struggle to get here!). 

    I love the fact that we have the freedom of speech in this country and that you can speak your mind, but it’s unfair to say that someone does or not deserve to win. I do however think that you should get involved with the ICT board in a more positive way, as what you say often makes a lot of sense.

    Finally, it’s Mikul without the H 😉

  • James G. Mbugua

    Alai – without insulting him, I think a balanced case can be made based on the mandate of the ICT Board and the actual performance and the nature of expenditures of both GoK allocations, and donor grants and loans. I have been working on the same and after contacting IDA (World Bank), BPO guys -who have specific very grave complaints, two ex-employees and content developers, I think I can do an objective article. Soma gazeti Friday. I will also put up a blog post either Thursday evening or Friday.

    • Robert Alai

      @facebook-618777592:disqus this is my opinion and unlike conventional media, blogs will not hide behind some ambiguous decorum rule not to state blunt truth. Anyone who want to do PR for Kukubo can call it insult but a leech is a leech. Simple

      • Laban Ndungo

        The fact remains, calling a human being a leech is equivalent to insulting someone and can thus be perceived as such. So be a sport, don’t call people names that belong to other creatures. If you think Paul Kukubo has failures bluntly state them without resorting to name calling. A lot of people agree with what you are saying but the way you say it earns you no credibility – it just paints you badly. You have many valid points – if you say them well, perhaps someone with influence will act on them. Simple 😉

        • Government Chief Information O

          :-) we do need some influence hopefully from inside the ICT Board.

      • Government Chief Information O

        Robert Alai, We need to shake and wake! Attended the Vision 2030 status update at KICC and thinks are looking “Not to bad”. 
        ICT Board was setup a while back and in the past 3 years some major developments are to be public. Top down approach has major implications.

  • Tito Mugambi

    I lived overseas for a long time. When i heard of the ICT Board it’s like a dream place to work. But if all this is going on it’s kind of disappointing considering that this is the National ICT unit for Kenya. Did they say they finished the Digital Archiving of Documents???? where is it on the eGovernment portal? Kukubo must go! We need to move forward!

    • Government Chief Information O

      Thanks for replying to the above subject. Very intriguing! Robert Alai, keep the journalism spirit. We need it.

  • Julius Kiilu

    Gitahi, Ndemo and Kukubo are always together preaching tech. They only know theory stuff and do not have the eye for great software

  • Daniel Nyaga

    Good article, though you’ll cause a mega backlash because of your heading.

  • Peter Muya

    I disagree with the language and personal vendetta on the ICTB chief but
    I do agree on some of the issues raised with regards to how ICTB
    is run,.

    To an outsider, ICTB looks like the govt PR arm on matters IT. It is such an ineffective agency for the real issues around IT.

    For instance, lawyers are regulated by several bodies, so are doctors, architects, engineers etc.

    What about ICT? Who regulates such professionals and what really is ICT?????

    2 weeks ago, I went to Dar as a potential trader in that country should we win the tender.

    If we had a real effective ICT Board, I perhaps would have informed
    them in advance, they would have liaised with the Kenyan embassy in Dar
    who would have, in the spirit of marketing Kenya arranged for my
    arrival, introduced me to key officials of the ministry of health there
    and helped me to popularize my solution (which is 100% kenyan IP).

    That is how to practically market Kenyan technology to the rest of the world.

    So the ICTB needs to wake up and;

    a) develop a framework to regulate anybody / organisation practising IT in Kenya.

    work with the KTB (Kenya Tourist Board) to support local people who are
    seeking to do business out there to make it easy for them to gain
    inroads in such countries.

    c) develop a framework to boost the growth of local enterprises
    through a structured procurement process that allows such small players
    to take part without feeling intimidated by foreign multinationals.

  • willy

    wasee si mna anikana….cant people just work for the common good of all?

  • Peter

    “Fast forward to now. Kukubo is running ICT Board like his private firm.
    He does not give a hoot to what critics say and to delude the stupid few
    that he really care, he will collect the small bunch of ignorant diaper
    kids, feed them lots of nonsense in the name of facts then dismiss the
    fools with a serving of coffee.”

    English motherfuker, do you speak it?

    • mary matengo

      We don’t come to this website to learn about grammar. We come here for unbiased opinion pieces.

      Start and English language site if you want to compete with Robert

  • Alcove Media

    Whoa! Cartels in the oil, coffee and sugar industries and now in ICT? Look there is a clique of first generation techno-prenuers now in their mid forties or so and that crew my friend have their heads quite far up where the sun doesn’t shine. I figure you are one who will call them out, some of us just steer our software outfits to calmer waters as I am convinced any cartel of so called developers, media personalities and financial outfits which would laud mediocre stub applications like Eat Out, NMG Mobile, Standard Mobile, Kenya Buzz et al as showcases of excellence in mobile phone development, is far beyond help.   

    At the last InMobi gathering at Sankara, Liko seconded a couple of issues I raised. Firstly you can sugar coat knowledge mining centers all you want but at the end of the day, any developer who thinks one idea will lead to one pay day which will lead to one ‘set’ life deserves the shaft … deserves the ‘Kukubo, iHub, mobilab (or some name to that effect) treatment’ – still the need to survive will understandably lead some developers to selling their ideas for some pennies and a mention in the dailies. Howeber software development isn’t rock music, there are no stars in this trade.

    Secondly like I said before devices are getting smarter and cheaper. It’s been a long time coming but soon enough the USSD and stubs loading mobisites shortcut will not cut it in a world of smart devices. They can award the grants to their cronies but the high demand for rich and engaging mobile experiences will open a multiverse of opportunities to budding and long suffering developers.

    Sometimes my brave and outspoken brother you need not move the herd, only the grass. Keep up the good work though.

    • Jaffar Mohamed

      @Alcove Media, you make some interesting and vaild observations here. I have never understood why there is buzz, interest and funding for mediocre and silly projects like KenyaBuzz and Eat Out. It shows that our thinking about ICT in Kenya in broken. Why the hell do you give funds to an amorphous entity whose project or “startup” is a Joomla website ? Is this the way to go? The situation is worse because the players are rigid in their cocoons and have a host of bootlickers who cheer them on. It’s a pity.

  • Abade.E

    This is so sad. Why should struggling ideas not be supported? I know of an applicant who lost in the first round but later pushed for the Board to tell him the comments of the judges on his company’s idea. It was hard getting the comments. When he persisted, finally madam Kaburo went for the document and the comment was devastating: “Your product is already up and running, why do you need the money?”. This was unfair in two fronts: First is that had he not gone to the ICT Board and “push” for the reason as to why his company’s proposal was declared “unfit”, he could not have had a reason. This is wrong because one of the reasons ICT Board exist in this country is to spur ICT growth. Simply dismissing a young entrepreneur without explanation as to why he/she did not meet the bar is not helping in correcting his/her mistakes. The ICT Board Must therefore change on this and give the reviewers comments on the proposals made by entrepreneurs. The feedback is the only way the entrepreneurs can know on what they have to improve on in their ideas.

    Secondly, the answer he got was devastating. Here is a young man who has been bootsrapping his ideas on a lean budget but against all the odds, he has not given up. Such a zeal in itself is a demonstration of a commitment to entrepreneurship for nothing changes into a big thing overnight. Dismissing his ideas on the simple basis that the business is already setup is myopic at best. It further pains when he went through the shortlist and saw already “running” ideas making it to the list. If the criteria was that every idea must not be “running” then were the judges given different guidelines? Why is it that other judges allowed already existing ideas why others did not allow for already running entrepreneurs a chance? This then begs for the further question: Who were these judeges? Why can’t their names be made public especially now that the competition is over?  I think ICT Board has many answers to give the young Kenyan techrepreneurs.

    • Jaffar Mohamed

      The guys on the ICT board don’t just get it. To say that an idea is “already up and running” is being too pedestrian and speaks volumes about the board’s capacity to spur ICT growth in the country. An idea should be interrogated on various fronts, will it create employemt, will it add value, will it help solve some socio or economic problem, what is it’s projected uptake, will it cause some disruption leading to innovation? All we have now are a bunch of ***** attending conferences and planning on how to pass and share the loot around.

  • ben kioko

    Trouble simmering at ICT Authority (formerly ICT Board)


    The Ethics &Anti corruption commission has at last responded to the myriad of complaints from the public concerning procurement anomalies perpetrated at KTCIP World Project managed by Kenya ICT Board now ICT Authority. EACC has demanded documentation for the process that awarded tenders for a component of IFMIS Integrated Financial Information Management System and Transport Integrated Management System TIMS for review. We hope this will now allow a full scrutiny of the world bank projects and even move further to evaluate the actual benefit of the projects to Kenyans.

    Scrutiny has also been turned to the Ag. CEO possible abuse of office allegations in the management of the ICT Authority affairs with particular attention to personal emoluments unilaterally approved in the absence of a Board of Directors. The past Directors left the ICT Board in August just after the new Authority was formed. The Ag. CEO has personalized the world bank project where decisions are made by him alone and only his cohorts are allowed to participate in decision making processes to ensure absolute consensus.

    Staff from the amalgamated Directorate of EGov and GITS are treated with disdain where even very junior staff from the former ICT BOARD are considered more important than them. In the recently ended exhibition of KENYA @ 50 at KICC, the conceited Marketing Director Eunice Mueni Kariuki, sent a messenger called Claire and temporary staff called Naomi (who did not complete form 4 and has continued to be employed on the strength of fake papers by her uncle Victor Kyalo) to man the stand since the communications team had all gone to mombasa to attend “a more important conference” which was KENET not to mention earn par diem. One wonders how such insubordination of a Presidential and forum of national importance can be so casually handled yet staff from E Gov and GITS who handle government work were available but cannot be trusted with such assignments despite being incharge of ICT in the ministries. This is a sabotage of the National Government ICT Agenda by the very people tasked with promoting and supporting the government achieve it.

    The leadership at the ICT Authority has been hijacked by self seekers and we are glad the EACC has finally come to the rescue. We wait and see what action is taken. The CS Dr Matiangi and his PS Tiampati are of course in the dark about this development as Ag. CEO would not want his cleverly crafted “Mr Perfect ICT KNOW IT ALL & Go to Advisor” to the clueless Ministry of information and communications bosses get wind of all is not well contrary to their belief.