Mombasa court stops hiring of new ports authority boss

Thursday, June 11th, 2020 00:00 |
Former Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku who resigned in March. Photo/PD/FILE

A Mombasa court has ordered that the ongoing recruitment for the position of the Kenya Port Authority (KPA) managing director be put on hold pending the hearing and determination of an application filed by a Mombasa lobby.

The Commission for Human Rights and Justice wants the recruitment process stopped until a new board of directors is constituted to oversee the process.

The lobby’s executive director Julius Ogogoh argued that the current board cannot be entrusted with the task of overseeing a fair recruitment of the next KPA managing director, saying it had failed to reign in corruption that has bogged down the authority for years.

In the affidavit sworn on May 7, in which the application to suspend the recruitment is based on, the petitioner argued that during the watch of the current board, KPA has been linked to several high profile corruption allegations and mismanagement.

The petitioner said this had affected the board’s integrity, thereby making it difficult to convince the public that it can be trusted to conduct interviews for a new chief executive in a fair manner.

Justice James Rika said “the petitioner has established a prima facie case, warranting grant of an interim order, barring the respondents from proceeding with the interviews and filling up of the position of managing director, pending hearing of the application inter partes.”

“The KPA has General Managers for its various departments, and would certainly not come to a standstill if the interim order of injunction issued,” the judge said adding: “It is not disputed that the Country is focused on a life threatening pandemic, and that Mombasa, and KPA itself, has been affected by this pandemic.”

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

Hot seat

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.

Although Manduku did not state the exact reasons for tendering his resignation on March 27, what is clearly notable is the fact that the former port chief joined the long list of KPA CEOs who have exited the authority unceremoniously.

Before Manduku took the helm at the authority, two of his predecessors Cathrine Mturi Wairi and Gichiri Ndua had suffered almost similar bitter exits.

Two other MDs- Abdalla Mwaruwa and James Mulewa were also hounded out of what looks like the hot seat-in similar  controversial and unceremoniously fashion.

 Mulewa who was Ndua’s immediate predecessor was sacked over corruption allegations and Abdalla Mwaruwa who was the managing director before Mulewa was dismissed following protests by workers and a cargo congestion crisis.

Ogogoh’s Commission for Human Rights and Justice had first written to KPA board chairman Joseph Kibwana demanding publication in the press of the list of all the applicants for the position.

  “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,” stated Ogogoh.

Those 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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