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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 1 March 2015


The battle for top parastatal jobs in government has taken a new dimension with fresh revelations that advisers of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are not agreeing on names to take up the jobs.
Sources say Uhuru men are not happy with a list presented by Ruto on grounds that the DP’s list is mainly composed of personalities from Kalenjin region with a few from pastoralist regions thereby failing to meet regional balance as stipulated in the constitution. To Uhuru allies, as he goes and lays strategies for a second term, it is better they cast their political net wide. It is this friction that has seen the delay in the appointments. Already, the Uhuru side is said to have presented a list of names that cuts across regional and tribal divide.
The controversy that surrounds Ruto’s list has now thrown into confusion the appointments of parastatal CEOs and board members. Investigations by Weekly Citizen reveal that contracts of top parastatal chiefs and various boards have expired.
According to sources privy to the happenings, Ruto’s list has rewarded his political cronies from his URP party and majorly from his Kalenjin backyard in his effort to consolidate and control the region’s politics that of late has been feeling the heat of a rebellious lot, more so, the South Rift.
Sources say the Ruto list had no names from Nyanza, Western, Coast, Eastern and Nairobi. Should Uhuru bow to pressure and accept the Ruto list, then it is likely to renew political battles between Jubilee and Cord on grounds it is tribal. The opposition, it is said, will move to court as it has now become  norm in the case of controversial appointments.
As of now, 70 parastatals continue to operate without boards while more than 100 have crucial vacant positions including those of chairpersons, chief executive officers and managing directors.
It is again emerging that although Uhuru is said to have insisted that the Ruto list must reflect the face of Kenya, sources close to the DP claim that such appointments must go to individuals who are loyal to the government of the day and not to those supporting the opposition.
URP and TNA are expected to share the slots on a 50:50 basis but with Uhuru showing some defiance, sources say Ruto camp has now retreated and instead of pushing the appointments through the presidency have now decided to use cabinet secretaries allied to his URP party to make appointments. The law allows CS to make such appointments or even to renew expired contracts.
One such case was witnessed last week when Information cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i appointed John Tanui as the new chief executive officer of Konza Technopolis Development Authority. Tanui takes over from  Catherine Adeya-Weya, whose term ended last month after heading the state corporation for two years in an acting capacity.
We have also established that URP and TNA have failed to agree on sharing of positions in some top parastatals. One such position is that of Kenya Revenue Authority commissioner general.  John Njiraini’s term expires in March and should be replaced immediately.
Njiraini was appointed on March 4 2012 for a term of three years. He has been lobbying to have his tenure renewed. Njiraini landed the slot during the Kibaki era when Uhuru was the deputy prime minister and minister for Finance. Insiders in Jubilee say if TNA side gets the Central Bank governor slot as they are pushing, then KRA should land on their side of Treasury cabinet secretary Henry Rotich but sources say Rotich being allied to Ruto’s URP can also make his independent appointment.
At the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company board the chairman’s post is vacant. Justus Kageenu retired on January 8. At the Kenya Rural Electrification Authority, there is no board and the term for the chairman is ending in May 2015.
Happenings at National Coordination Agency for Population and Development have stalled with no board in place. It was chaired by Abdisala Noor. His term expired on December 20 2014.
Lobbying is on to replace Ibrahin Hussein as chairman at the Drought Management Authority. Hussein’s term comes to an end in April.
The same story is going on at the Francis Ndung’u-led Kenya School of Government whose tenure expires in September. His tenure at Central Bank is negotiating the last corner.
At Kenya Pipeline Company board, chairman Daniel Kiongo’s term of office expired on January 8 and that is generating a lot of heat. TNA side claims since the MD is allied to URP, they should chair the board. John Kibe, a city tycoon associated with Magnate Ventures who at one time chaired CMC Motors and Mobicom which recently invested in power generation is being fronted for the plum slot.
Export Promotion Council CEO Ruth Mwaniki’s term expired in January but she has continued to serve. EPC has been embroiled in scandals with a section of the staff openly crying foul and exposing the dirt.
The education sector has not been spared with Egerton University, Technical University of Kenya and University of Kabianga are also threatened by power vacuum.
Other parastatals without either CEO or board are Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Wildlife Service, and Kenya Forest Service, Constituency Development Fund, Kenya Film Corporation, National Biosafety Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, National Irrigation Board, Kenya National Highways Authority and Brand Kenya.
Others are Tourism Board, Urban Roads Authority, Kenya Investments Authority, Tourism Development Levy, Bomas of Kenya, Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Utalii College, Capital Markets Authority, Retirement Benefit Authority and Ken-Invest.
Others are Kenya Copyright Board, Consolidated Bank of Kenya, Export processing Zone Authority, Kenya Dairy Board, Kenya National Shipping Line, National Housing Corporation, National Museums of Kenya, Pest Control Products Board, Tea Research Foundation of Kenya among others.
But even as they eye slots that are vacant, sources say a number of CEOs whose term is yet to expire are marked men. Silas Simiyu of Geo-Thermal and National Hospital Insurance Fund Simon ole Kirrigoty are men under siege. For Simiyu, TNA is out to replace him while URP wants Kirrigoty out despite the fact he has two years in office. NHIF has been collecting Sh700million per month from members contributions. With the introduction of new rates, it is to shoot to billions. Already, a private firm Kaps that is involved in the Maasai Mara National Park revenue collection has been engaged by NHIF to collect money. Kirrigoty is said to have opposed the move and now is under pressure to quit and be paid for the remaining years in office to avoid legal aspects. Kirrigotty is accused of campaigning for a Cord candidate in 2013 polls in his home area and Raila for presidency. He was appointed to the slot by then Health minister Anyang Nyong’o. URP is out to control NHIF just the way it has manipulated happenings at National Social Security Fund where CEO Richard Langat landed the slot courtesy of political patronage. Langat was a manager at NSSF but lobbied to get the slot which had attracted formidable candidates from the private sector among them Wycliffe Wangamati, currently with Alexarder Forbes. Former Vision 2030 CEO Mugo Kibati was also set to join NSSF as CEO. Kibati has now landed a job at Panafrican Insurance.
At Kenya Maritine Authority, Aden Duale is pushing for his person to replace director general Nancy Karingithu whose tenure has expired. As this goes on, David Kimaiyo who is the chairman of Kenya Airports Authority has been appointed chairman of Parastatals and State Corporations in Kenya.