Defiant David Ndii continues to ruffle feathers

Kenya Kwanza economic advisor David Ndii. [File, Standard]

President William Ruto's top financial advisor David Ndii is a man not afraid to let his position on issues known.

And to pass his points across on issues at hand, he often takes to X (formerly Twitter), where he is unapologetic with his words.

A tweeting Ndii is fodder for the opposition to attack government policies and what may appear to be defiance on his part, one may mistake his sarcastic tweets to be that of the opposition and not of a Kenya Kwanza employee.

Since his appointment to head the administration's economic team, many expected that he would tone down his takes but they were wrong.

The Harvard-trained economist has continued to ruffle feathers with his tweets given his position as chairperson of the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors.

On Saturday, Ndii took to X to tell Kenyans that he is unapologetic over his tweets following complaints over the high cost of living and in particular the new fuel prices that were announced on September 14.

"Finally, I've been advised that I owe the public empathy. I don't agree. I do not subscribe to sentimentality in the conduct of public affairs. I owe my position in this society to speaking truth to power, brutally. I ruffle feathers," tweeted Ndii.

The tweet is part of a thread that Ndii authored to explain his recent hot takes over economic matters.

He began by reminding Kenyans that the recent economic issues are a result of mismanagement of the economy and endless borrowing by different governments that then spend the money on 'vanities' at the expense of production making Kenya a nation of 'tenderpreneurs' who live large on 'wasteful public spending'.

According to Ndii, raising production and productivity is the only way to address the high cost of living.

He warns that Kenya's debt position is not good and he affirms that the country may go the Sri Lanka of Ghanaian way.

The economist is not new to controversy since his time in the opposition where he was part of Raila Odinga's think tank where he run for presidency in 2017.

He has also served in the late Mwai Kibaki's government, as part of the economic team, but Ndii has become more prominent in the 10 years of the Jubilee government (his current boss Dr Ruto was deputy president) where he stood out in his economic criticism of the regime.

If his tweets are anything to go by then it looks like Ndii is an outsider in the government, an approach that is confusing.

While the president and his team continue to make a case for more taxes instead of heavy borrowing, Ndii on the other hand has fingered them for wastage and misplaced spending.

At one time, Ndii in an opinion piece suggested that Kenya should be split and everyone gets their fair share since some communities have been alienated since Kenya gained its independence.

One may wonder, whether Ndii should take a softer approach to pass the bitter truth down the throats of Kenyans who are already facing hard economic times, or he should continue with his takes.

President Ruto has already indicated that he is not afraid of criticism of his administration adding that he needs a vibrant opposition to point out where his policies are hurting Kenyans and the best way to address them.

It would seem this is the loophole that Ndii has exploited, showing that one does not need to be a sycophant in the service to his country.

As to whether President Ruto will adopt the economic recommendations by the Ndii team, and if they will be successful it remains to be seen.