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Where it all went wrong for sacked Dennis Itumbi

Denis Itumbi’s reign at State House has officially come to an end. A bit late, some observers would think.

On Wednesday, the government released a statement informing Kenyans that it had scrapped his position of senior digital director and those of four others.

But for someone so close to the presidency and a reported personal friend of President Uhuru Kenyatta, what just went wrong?

1. Dalliance with DP William Ruto – During the 2017 general elections, Itumbi, for some reason, aligned himself with Deputy President William Ruto. At the time, he was spotted accompanying the DP to most international media interviews. This bromance grew and Itumbi ‘replaced’ coverage of President Kenyatta’s activities on his popular social media pages with that of Dr Ruto. It was a decision that has proved costly considering the political fallout between the two leaders. The DP has himself complained of some elements within the government out to stop him.

2. Attacking government officials – This was a weird decision. For some reason, Itumbi, employed by State House, took to consistently attacking Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and his PS Karanja Kibicho on social media. He didn’t stop there. He took on the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) accusing him of being unprofessional. For all intents and purposes Itumbi’s actions displayed a serious disconnect within government circles.

3. Brush with authorities – Things got worse. Last year, Itumbi was arrested and charged with falsifying a document. He’s also consistently claimed that a group of high ranking government officials were planning to assassinate the Deputy President. True or not, this is not the job description of a State House employee. Worse, he was recently teargassed at a Police Station in Nairobi at night when he accompanied a group of MPs to demand the release of detained Moses Kuria. He then referred to the Police as thugs.

4. Coronavirus statement – Itumbi was recently quoted by a local media house suggesting that the government had enough masks to offer Kenyans to protect themselves from coronavirus. It was a telling statement considering he isn’t a Ministry of Health official. The factuality of the statement has also been contested leading to reports he misrepresented a government position on a sensitive matter.

5. Blogging – The government should take some blame for how this matter has panned out. Itumbi is a blogger, and appears to be at his best blogging and rebutting ‘facts’ on social media other than creating policy. Whoever offered him the role to represent and protect government interests on social media appears to have set the poor boy up for failure.