Claims of bias threaten to stall ports MD recruitment

Thursday, April 30th, 2020 00:00 |
KPA board chairman Joseph Kibwana. Photo/PD/FILE

Murimi Mutiga @murimimutiga

Vested interests, politics and  divisions in the board are threatening to derail the hiring of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director.

As behind-the-scenes lobbying for the hot seat intensifies, some applicants and a lobby group have threatened to go to court to stop the exercise, claiming it is skewed.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, two of the applicants allege “a lot of lobbying and the board of directors is divided to the extent it is unable to agree on how and when interviews should be conducted”.

KPA advertised for the position of managing director on April 7 to replace Dr Daniel Manduku, who resigned last month after months of battling graft allegations. 

Manduku followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, Catherine Mturi, who took over after unceremonious exits of Gichiri Ndua and two other port bosses—Abdalla Mwaruwa and James Mulewa.

A source at the port said more than  20 people had applied for the position. 

A civil society organisation has alleged underhand deals to influence the recruitment  by some individuals in and outside KPA.

The Commission for Human Rights and Justice (CHRJ) says it has written to KPA board chairman Joseph Kibwana demanding publication in the press of the list of all the applicants for the position.

Executive director Julius Ogogo also wants the board to make public the date and venue of the interviews, adding that the exercise should be conducted on live television to ensure transparency and integrity of the exercise

“The aforementioned list of applicants be published within the next three days from the date of this correspondence in newspapers of wide circulation to facilitate public participation and comments from all stakeholders on the suitability and inability of the applicants to the position of CEO,” he said.

However, Kibwana has rubbished the allegations of lobbying and divisions among board members, saying the recruitment  is above board.

“We are now in the shortlisting stage, the exercise has just started, we are yet to conduct the interviews, we are not yet through, then how can it be skewed?” he posed.

Kibwana said he has not received a letter from CHRJ demanding to know the applicants and public participation in the interview.

The chairman said the board would not hesitate to disqualify anyone found lobbying for the position.

“People should not start creating stories, submission of applications just ended on April 24. 

“We have stated clearly that lobbying will lead to automatic disqualification,” he added.

Those who are reported to be in the race to replace Manduku include the authority’s three top managers Vincent Sidai (General Manager - Infrastructure Development), Yobesh Oyaro (former Procurement head) and Abdullahi Samata (former General Manager - Infrastructure Development).

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