Kenya: Over 100 Contestants Eye KPA MD Position

A former principal secretary, current and ex-chief executive officers of parastatals, politicians and ex-army officers are among those who have who applied for the Kenya Ports Authority managing director's post.

The list also includes senior managers at the port agency, advocates, engineers and marine consultants, all angling for the hot seat, which has often seen its holder hounded out of office.

The Nation has obtained the list of over 100 applicants, as the interviews move to the second phase. This even comes as the resignation of the former MD Daniel Manduku's becomes effective today.

Dr Manduku resigned on March 27 after his reign was dogged by corruption allegations.

Only 24 of the applicants are women, among them former Principal Secretary at the Gender ministry Mwanamaka Mabruki. Ms Mabruki also served as PS in the devolution ministry. She was dropped in March this year.

Among the applicants is the current deputy Controller of Budget Stephen Masha, current Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport Corridor project chief executive officer Silvester Kasuku, former and NHIF Managing Trustee-turned-politician Fred Rabongo.

CONTESTANTS

Ex-KPA Managing Director James Mulewa is among the 153 applicants and will be attempting to make a comeback at the agency, from which he was fired by then-Transport minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere over abuse of office allegations.

He later sued and won. In 2018, he applied for the position after the exit of Catherine Mturi, but was not picked, with the board settling on Dr Manduku.

Mr Masha was picked as acting Controller or Budget in August last year by President Uhuru Kenyatta upon the expiry of Agnes Odhiambo's term. In November, he was replaced by Margaret Nyakango, whom he now deputises.

Sources told the Nation that he is seen as the front runner for the position, given that he was bypassed for the Controller of Budget position.

Mr Kasuku, who heads Lapsset, has been at the helm of the agency since February 2013.

Within the current senior management, applicants include acting MD Rashid Salim, Finance General Manager Patrick Nyoike, General manager for human resource Daniel Oguttu, and Infrastructure Development General Manager Vincent Sidai.

The others are Amani Yuda Komora, engineer Alfred Masha Nyanje, acting General Manager, Infrastructure Development, engineer Douglas Omondi, deputy head engineer (electrical), Tom Waka Midega, and engineer Joseph Atonga.

VETTING

Mr Nyoike, who was charged last month by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption court over a Sh291 million financial impropriety scandal, seems to have been knocked out of the contest, given that he was forced to step aside.

Mr Sammy Karuga Gachuhi, who was appointed in September last year as the deputy general manager of Afristar Railway Operation, the operators of the Standard Gauge Railway, has also applied for the position.

Earlier, Mr Gachuhi was the head of freight operations at Kenya Railways. He had also served at the defunct Rift Valley Railways as external affairs and concession manager.

Other notable names among the applicants are Anthony Ambaka Kegode, founder of the defunct East African Safari Air, Kilifi County Secretary Arnold Mkare, and former Jubilee Party Malindi parliamentary aspirant Philip Charo.

KPA board of directors' Chairman Joseph Kibwana told the Nation that the vetting of the applicants but will be done soon.

RESTRUCTURE

He said at least 150 people applied for the position, and that those who qualified in the first phase are still being interviewed.

"We are working on a timeline and soon we will be done. The process has been moving slowly because of, among other reasons, the Covid-19 pandemic, but we will soon get the three final names which we will share with the Ministry," he said.

Meanwhile, pressure has been mounting on the board as the Commission for Human Rights and Justice, a Mombasa based lobby group, moved to court seeking the restructuring of the board before a new MD is appointed.

Last week, the court gave the KPA board of directors and the Ministry of Transport seven days to respond to the petition in a matter certified as urgent.

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