Kenya Ports Authority board of directors remains a divided house as powerful forces from within and out intensify lobbying for their own to occupy the top position left vacant following resignation of Daniel Manduku as managing director.
Members of the board chaired by Joseph Kibwana are said to be pulling in different directions a few weeks after the advertisement for the position putting in top gear the process of recruiting a new MD.
Apart from Kibwana, others on the board are Solomon Kitungu, the PS Department of Transport. A secret operative in the corridors of power, Kitungu was used by powerful forces out to land lucrative tenders at the port to hound out Manduku.
CEOs of parastatals that fall under Kitungu docket openly complain of how he asks for millions of shillings in the name of protection. Some of the said CEOs have been acting in positions for years but of course influencing renewals using millions. A good case being Kenya Urban Roads Authority of Director General Silas Kinoti.
The position has now been advertised after Kinoti acting for four years. Infighting for top Kura job is now on with top managers eyeing the seat releasing dossiers relating to graft to block each other. One party ,(name witheld) boasts of already having bribed his way through.
At Kenya Rural Roads Authoriyy the position of DG has also been advertised and is up for grabs.
Just like KPA,they all fall under transport ministry.
Back to KPA,other directors are Peter Gibendi, Conrad Thorpe, Peter Muracia, Mary Ngari, Kadzo Ngala, Oscar Eredi, acting KPA MD Rashid Salim and Addraya Dena, manager legal services.
Kitungu represents CS James Macharia interests on the board. Weekly Citizen has information. three camps exist to influence who to be the next MD. This is after the board was given the mandate to recruit the next MD. Those applying are to make application to the chairman, KPA.After the board’s decision, the names of at least two will be forwarded to CS to make a decision.
The ministry cabinet administrative secretary is Chris Obure has no final say going the way Manduku, a fellow Kisii was told to resign by Macharia upon discovery, the board with ministry’s blessing was to meet to discuss audit report. Manduku had inquired from the CS if he had sanctioned the board meeting he was unaware of only to be told, yes! Manduku, then a member of the board was surprised, leading to his abrupt resignation which Macharia did not object.
Kitungu had collaborated with director Thorpe in efforts to have Manduku exit. The acting MD Salim has only one year to retire and with his failing health, he is not keen to apply that is why he replaced Manduku in acting capacity.
There are two camps within the board as the hunting of new MD goes the final stretch. The powerful one rotates around Kitungu, Njiri and Ngari. It has one general manager Infrastructure Development Vincent Sidai.
By last week, the Sidai camp was fundraising millions of shillings in Mombasa and Nairobi to help influence activities in the corridors of power. Mombasa wheeler-dealer Ken Lunani, a Mombasa lawyer Makotsi, Brown Ondego and a section of port senior employees were involved. They want to raise Sh20 million towards the project.
Sidai also enjoys support of wheeler-dealer based at the ministry headquarters that influenced his current appointment.
However, even as the lobbying is on, Weekly Citizen has information Uhuru Kenyatta handlers may pull a surprise and have a marine engineer based at Kenya Navy land the slot. Uhuru has of late preferred military faces to key positions in his government.
Kibwana is said to on the receiving end as powerful cartels behind the lobbying try to rope in his name and that of Macharia in the battle for the top KPA seat in order to spoil the game and later run away with ongoing recruitment process.
Then we have the camp led by Thorpe and Gibendi. It has Kibwana, Ngala and pushing for a coastal in the name of general manager Lamu Port Abdullai Shamata or former Kenya Ferry Services managing director Khamis Musa, although just in passing. Kilifi county secretary Anold Mkare is also one of the old KPA guards who are in line to get the top position. They comprise former procurement manager Yobesh Oyaro who was the first victim of the reshuffle and who is currently head of strategy at Kisumu port inland container depot, general manager in charge of Kisumu port Sudi Mwasingo and general manager in charge of inland container Embakasi Nairobi, Peter Masinde.
KPA general manager, board and legal services, Addraya Dena is in support of Rashid’s bid to succeed Manduku.
Sidai camp within KPA is composed of general manager finance Patrick Nyoike who is under siege over the loss of Sh3 billion which went down with the collapsed Chase Bank.
The controversial KPA officer allegedly opened the bank account when he was the manager financial accounting before the post was changed to head of financial accounting.
Others in the Sidai camp include KPA general manager human resources and administration Daniel Ogutu.
The closing day for application of candidates in the race to succeed Manduku was April 24 with KPA board of director s chairman Kibwana spearheading the exercise.
In an advertisement to declare the post vacant the authority has moved from the tradition of hiring a consultancy firm to conduct the interviews.
The shortlisted candidates will be required to abide with Chapter Six of the constitution before being allowed for the interview.
Before the budget is read out for the next financial year, the KPA will have a Manduku successor to steer the port operations.
Others being lobbied for the lucrative position include former KPA general manager corporate services Justus Nyarandi, Kilifi Jubilee politician Philip Charo and former KPA general manager container oseph Atonga.
However, a number of board members claimed to have orchestrated a well-calculated battle within the board that saw Manduku being forced to tender his resignation on March 26 2020 was directing their scathing attacks towards the acting managing director Rashid Salim whom they have no time for since his appointment.
Source privy to the board operations confirmed to Weekly Citizen that directors allied to Thorpe, who happened to be a strong opponent of Manduku’s leadership, were said to be praying that a person of their choice occupies the top KPA seat rather than any other face. The move by Conrad’s term is said to have angered a section on board and ministry and see the Mzungu as a bother to the board operations.
Conrad, a vocal managing director of Salama Fikiri, a shipping company and former British special forces officer is representing the shipping fraternity in the board. For the eight months, he has been on the KPA board, he is said to be driving a wedge against the board chairman and his allies who he accused one time of protecting then former MD. He had one time accused Munduku of having messed up the authority, through a letter sent to CS Macharia and copied to the board chairman.
“The authority of which you are the MD is a mess, our reputation is laughable and the city of Mombasa, the county, our country, the region and more widely, the shipping stakeholders are ashamed of us” Conrad said in his daring letter.
Meanwhile, Weekly Citizen has established that Conrad’s team is not alone in perpetuating divisions and wrangles in the KPA board. Powerful businessmen and politicians known to be eying lucrative tenders worth billions of shillings at the port are also in the lobbying trail for their person to be appointed to the helm of KPA top position.
Two prominent and influential Mombasa tycoons are currently spending millions of shillings to reach out and influence the appointment of the new MD. They have to an extent of reaching out to State House and Raila Odinga whom they rely on to influence the appointment of the next MD.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s family is said also to be fronting their agenda for the confirmation of Rashid Salim as new KPA managing director while they lobby behind the scene for Justus Nyarandi, formerly GM corporate affairs KPA.
Nyarandi, currently with Mombasa county government was picked by Governor Joho after being sacked from KPA two years where he had earlier been fronted by the Joho family to vie against Manduku.
Joho is said to be banking on Salim, Nyarandi or Sidai to increase their business influence at Mombasa port and KPA in general once one of them is appointed next MD.
Joho’s backing for Sidai who comes from Teso community, Busia county is said to have been influenced by Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong.
Another Mombasa tycoon, Mohamed Jaffer, of Grain Bulk Handlers Limited is said to be complicating Joho’s game plan as the two rival businessmen rarely see eye-eye-with Jaffer, and according to sources, he is said to be fronting Abdulahi Samata.
Meanwhile, Weekly Citizen has established allies of ODM leader Raila led by his cousin Jakoyo Midiwo recently accommodated back in the party are running a private office located along Dennis Pritt road, next to St Georges Girls Nairobi.
The office is being used to collect millions from Chinese investors, politicians and parastatal CEOs as protection fee and to influence tender awards.
They even claim to help applicants land lucrative advertised parastatal positions. The office is operated by suspicious characters some claiming to be lawyers, businessmen with direct link to Raila.
The cartel claims they will use Raila to prevail upon Uhuru to have favoured faces at KPA, Kura and Kerra as CEOs after the positions were advertised.