Kenya Central Banker Weathers Parliament, Twitter Storm
Duncan Miriri, Reuters, 20 March, 2012NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya’s central bank chief marched out of a hotel last month, barely pausing for questions as the markets buzzed with rumours a parliamentary committee was set to call for his removal over a year’s-worth of market chaos.
Sure enough, that day the committee investigating how the local currency lurched from one record low to another, sending inflation through the roof, recommended Njuguna Ndung’u step aside pending an investigation.
He remains in place having survived a close full parliamentary vote in this East African nation, one of the few on the continent to attract mainstream overseas investors.
The committee vote nonetheless marked a low for Ndung’u, who having successfully steered Kenya’s monetary policy during a time of economic boom then had to preside over soaring inflation and a seemingly bottomless dive in the shilling.
So sharp was the move that it became a trending topic on Twitter, a position usually reserved for the likes of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga rather than an East African currency.
So poor was his performance viewed by market players that he was listed bottom in a Reuters poll of African central bankers, a finding that infuriated him and was widely reported at home.
It has not always been thus.