Former Director of Innovation and Diaspora Communication in the Office of the President Dennis Itumbi has lifted the lid on the tribulations he went through while working at State House.
In a series of posts on Facebook Thursday, Itumbi debunked what he said were “lies that have been told for far too long”.
He described his stint as one of the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) members as bumpy.
By his narration, the rain started beating in 2013 after the Jubilee duo, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto took over the reins of power.
Itumbi was tasked with crafting a new communication team for Uhuru from the initial Presidential Press Services (PPS).
He proposed reforms which required a nod by then State House Spokesman, Manoah Esipisu and his predecessor Isaya Kabira who had been serving during ex-President Mwai Kibaki’s regime.
It is here that his woes began.
He says that after presenting his proposal to Esipisu who is now the Kenyan ambassador to the United Kingdom, he opposed them.
“I changed PPS to Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU). The idea was that the Presidency, in the modern era did not need to be covered but communicated,” he narrated.
“I then went ahead and named all those appointed to senior positions and departments in the unit as agreed earlier. Armed with release, I was advised that either Kabira or Manoah must sign for it to be sent.
“I rushed to the field, on handing them the release, they both declined, saying that can be done later,” he added.
Having waited for long without any word from Esipisu, he took a bold step and went to President Uhuru and presented the proposal. It was signed off with Esipisu’s knowledge.
“I activated gear two and waited for the President, who signed it off. I did not even go back to the duo. They saw it as Breaking News on their phones as they took their stroll in the Gardens. For a whole year, avoiding the details, we worked without a salary and accessed State House only on the strength of a News Release. The System was fighting back. But we won,” Itumbi concluded his debunk.
Itumbi was to later be let go in March this year as the Public Service Commission scrapped some of the posts within PSCU.
He was sent home alongside James Kinyua (Events and Branding), Erick Ng’eno (Speechwriting and Research), David Nzioka and John Ndolo.
It’s under Esipisu’s leadership that Itumbi details frustrations that affected the delivery of the president’s communication team claiming that they once stayed for a whole year without pay.
After Esipisu’s appointment, the president’s communication unit was supposed to be unveiled the following morning. However, on the fateful day, Itumbi and his colleagues’ names were missing on the list except that of the press unit boss.
Itumbi says he sensed betrayal that reminded him of the Mwai Kibaki era when he was shortchanged after a promise that he had been picked to work at State House.
“So now in 2013, I was witnessing another moment, exactly same script, only that this time I got a salute at the gate and I was right inside, ” he said.
The trained journalist noted that he was behind the brains behind “PSCU” and its departments.
He claims that after coming up with the rebranding idea, Esipisu and Kabira declined to sign it saying “that can be done later”.
“I activated gear two and waited for the President, who signed it off. I did not go back to the duo, ” narrated Itumbi.
“They saw it as Breaking News on their phones as they took their stroll in the gardens.”
What ensued, Itumbi says, were frustrations after another as the system was “fighting back.”