DAN KAZUNGU KAMBI: FROM POVERTY TO IBM TO CABINET
DAN KAZUNGU KAMBI, CS MINING / “We used to sit on logs as there were no desks in school. The first time I saw a desk was when I reached standard five. It was only in class eight that I got a taste of a classroom with cemented floor.” Everything looked ble
Dan Kazungu quit a high-flying job at IBM, the iconic American technology leader, to join politics.
At IBM, the man who is now Kenya’s Mining Cabinet Secretary and the immediate former Malindi MP, was in charge of seven countries in Eastern Africa.
“It was a tough assignment as I had new products to deal with, which were complex,” he says.
By 2012, Kazungu had risen to the top when he was recognised within the company as one of the top Global Achievers.
This was in part for masterminding its success in Ethiopia and Kenya.
His efforts received special mention by the IBM Global Chief Finance Officer.
This was during an investor briefing at the New York Stock Exchange on the success of IBM’s Africa strategy.
He would later get more accolades from the IBM Africa leadership team congratulated him.
Kazungu was making headlines, winning big projects for IBM besides the good salary.
But even as revelled in the good life something was eating him up.
The thing was his background: The difficult rural life that he grew up in, and which defined every facet of his life.
He was only 14 when his father died leaving behind five wives and 15 children.
The same year his school was closed down for fear of diseases outbreak because it had no toilets.
Forced to go to another school a long distance away, he found life in the new school was not easy either.
“We used to sit on logs as there were no desks in school. The first time I saw a desk was when I reached standard five. It was only in class eight that I got a taste of a classroom with cemented floor.” Everything looked bleak for the future MP and CS until his uncle’s interventionmade the difference.”
“He took my results and sought out well-wishers for me,” he says. The Lions Club of Mombasa, Rotary Club of Mombasa, National Council of Churches of Kenya responded, offering to sponsor him as long as he maintained the top grades.
The idea of joining politics was always at the back of his mind, even as he enjoyed his status as a top-tier global technocrat. Owing to his humble background, he wanted to help transform the lives of people.
While he was an MP, he embarked on three major projects.
These were the upgrading of the Malindi Airport to International standards, the tarmacking of the Malindi Salagate road and the Malindi Beach Upgrade Project.
HE WAS ONLY 14 WHEN HIS FATHER DIED, LEAVING BEHIND FIVE WIVES AND 15 CHILDREN