Dennis Itumbi has accused Norway of supporting terror in Kenya (photo:

Dennis Itumbi has accused Norway of supporting terror in Kenya (photo:

In a startling development, a highly placed spokesperson for the Kenyan government has accused Norway of “supporting” terrorist activities in Kenya. Dennis Itumbi, the Director of Digital Communication in the Office of the President, on Monday morning tweeted that Norway’s decision to continue funding Haki Africa, a Mombasa-based NGO, amounts to being on the opposite side of Kenya’s fight against terror.

Haki Africa was among several NGOs blacklisted by the Kenyan government for being linked to terrorists in the aftermath of the attack on Garissa University College. The Foreign Affairs Ministry on May 12th wrote to the US, UK and Norwegian government asking them to stop funding Haki Africa. Norway’s ambassador to Kenya Victor Rønneberg issued his reply through the press saying his government would continue to fund the NGO because the vital work it does.

“We support the organisations because of their valuable contribution to the realization of human rights on the Kenyan coast and for their important contribution to countering violent extremism. Norway supports Haki Africa together with the USA and UK and have carried out due diligence on the organisation,” said the ambassador according to the Nation newspaper.

It’s this reply that appears to have angered Itumbi.

Itumbi had an opportunity to walk back the diplomatically explosive claim in his tweet when he was put to task by journalist Samira Sawlani and activist Boniface Mwangi but he stuck to his guns. He’s also been quite adamant on who he speaks for.

Itumbi has gotten an equal measure of criticism and support for his broadside against Norway.

Itumbi made his name as blogger before being appointed to join then newly-elected President Uhuru Kenyatta’s press team in 2013. He’s widely known to be among the people who craft the president’s media strategy. Norway and Kenya have always enjoyed cordial relations so it will be interesting to see how this pans out.

The only time Kenya had strained relations with Norway was during the Moi regime when Norway hosted several Kenyans who took refuge there due to the repressive Kenyan government. Using the harshtag  #NorwaySupportsTerror is not only unfortunate, thoughtless but also likely to spark a diplomatic raw as any issues Kenya has should address them diplomatically not on twitter.