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Politics of the port and how cartels hire and fire at will : The Standard

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Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Daniel Manduku (left) walks out of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices in Mombasa jointly with his bodyguard (right) where he had gone for interrogation by the EACC officers over a corruption case, May 20, 2019. [Gedion Maundu, Standard]].

When Daniel Ogwoka Manduku was confirmed as the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director last year, it was clear he was taking over a hot seat.

The once-coveted plum position has over the years become a poisoned chalice for its occupiers, as a raft of corruption allegations and other forms of impropriety have been used rather effectively to make the seat uninhabitable.
Insiders who spoke to Saturday Standard talked of how influential individuals have for years pushed for their preferred choices to take over at the port, only to leave them out to hang once they are no longer useful.
The position has since 1979 been held by 14 people: Out of 13 seven were sacked, three forced to resign and four completed their term with Dr Manduku‘s rein entering its second year after a turbulent first year in office that has seen him summoned for statements by law enforcement agencies.
Dilemma
Analysts say some former MDs were victims of circumstances and faced sabotage from powerful forces within and outside the port including from other state agencies.
They say KPA bosses find themselves in a dilemma of choosing to be professional and repaying their benefactors by awarding them lucrative tenders and even patronage jobs.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.
Of those who have met career-ending tackles at the port, Eng Joseph Munyiri Munene’s rein was the shortest. In December 1999 he was forced to resign after he started to investigate Sh200 million fraud in the port’s engineering department.
It later emerged that the fraud involved a then powerful politician in from the coast region and some KPA section managers who launched a vicious media campaigns to paint Munene as a tribalist.
John Mturi, Philip Okundi, John Gituma, and Brown Ondego completed their terms but they also faced what some term as “persecution” and frustration with the former even arrested.
Mr Ondego who took over from Munene as KPA boss in 1999 was arrested and suspended from office in January 2005 over claims of graft. He was later cleared.
Abdalla Mwaruwa who took over from Ondego was sacked in 2008 after chaotic implementation of the Kilindini Water Front System leading to massive congestion.
James M Mulewa who served between October 2008 and July 2010 was sacked by then Transport Minister Chirau Mwakwere over alleged abuse of office. The court cleared him.
But Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) would later arrest and charge him for illegal enrichment.
EACC said Mulewa made some deposits of Sh17 million in a bank between August 31, 2008 and May 2010 being the value which constituted land property he could not explain how he acquired.
The agency further accused him of having deposited Sh41 million in cash and Sh24 million in cheques in various banks, money he could not explain how he acquired.
In 2017, a Mombasa High Court ordered Mulewa to pay Sh78 million to the state after finding he has property worth the amount he can neither account for nor explain how he acquired it. On February 2016, long-serving MD Gichiri Ndua who took over from Mulewa, was among top managers that were forced to retire. Ndua was succeeded by Catherin Mturi-Wairi.
Mrs Wairi who took over the rein in July 2016 was forced to resign in June last year after the port and the Inland Container Depot (ICD) experienced massive congestion.
Like Ondego, Munene, Philip Okundi and Robert Brenneisen entered KPA as outsiders, a move analysts say was fiercely opposed by top managers at the port.
Claims of sabotage at the port has in the last three years forced the KPA board to carry out major changes transferring, demoting or sacking some top managers.
In 2016, General Manager- Operations Captain Twalib Khamisi and Head of Legal Services and Company Secretary Muthoni Gatere, Justus Nyarandi (General Manager-Cooperative Services) and Major Mohamed Morowa (head of security services) were retired.
In March last year, another purge was carried out in the port that saw Eng Abdullahi Samatar General Manager – Infrastructure Development deployed to Kisumu Port.
Long-serving Eng Joseph Atonga, General Manager -Engineering Services, was retired while Sudi Mwasimango General Manager Operations and Harbour Master was deployed to Kisumu.
Critics say the changes were as a result of corporate and national politics by people in and outside KPA who wanted to control the port but others say it was necessary to end the rivalry.
This year, KPA again effected major changes affecting 16 senior officers who have either been demoted, transferred or promoted.

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Magoha warns school heads over extra charges

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MOHAMED AHMED

By MOHAMED AHMED
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WINNIE ATIENO

By WINNIE ATIENO
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The Ministry of Education has barred principals from charging extra school fees, saying the government has abolished the levies, potentially bringing relief to thousands of overburdened parents.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha directed the school managers to use the gazetted fees structures.

“We have abolished extra levies and we are implementing only the gazetted school fees structure,” Prof Magoha said. Most extra-county boarding schools are charging between Sh53,000 and Sh60,000 per year.

Many parents have complained about being forced to pay extra money in undocumented school fees.

The fees, the parents have variously been told, would cater for borehole repairs, pay salaries for teachers hired through Boards of Management (BOM), and improve infrastructure, among other things.

“To avoid documentation that may attract sanctions, some schools have avoided listing the disputed items on formal fee structures and instead the new charges are communicated verbally but payment is mandatory,” Mr Ali Kassim, a parent, told the Nation.

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More than one million students have been enrolled in public secondary schools so far even as they grapple with massive congestion.

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“The ministry has placed 1,075,201 in public secondary schools, excluding inmates, adult learners and refugees in camps. The students were expected to report for admission from January 13 to 17. Some of the students may opt to join private secondary schools and this will be captured appropriately,” he said.

Statistics from the Ministry of Education show that 1,088,986 candidates registered for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination last year and 1,083,456 sat for the tests.

Speaking during a meeting with security chiefs during their annual forum at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa in Mombasa, Prof Magoha announced the hiring of 10,000 intern teachers this year.

Some 339,752 trained teachers are from public and private schools. Teachers from special-needs schools had also been trained.

On Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed security agencies to work with officials in the Ministry of Education to ensure all students join secondary schools.

“You must know how many children are in your region, how many are in school and those that aren’t. It is now your responsibility to ensure all children are in school,” he said.

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Jubilee MPs describe Duale, Murkomen as ‘untouchable’

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ONYANGO K’ONYANGO

By ONYANGO K’ONYANGO
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A showdown is looming in the ruling Jubilee Party after allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement chief Raila Odinga threatened to change the party’s leadership in the National Assembly and Senate.

Lawmakers allied to Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday laughed off the threats, saying it is a plot by the DP’s competitors who are out to break their party.

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono dared those who want to spearhead the removal of Mr Kipchumba Murkomen as Senate majority leader, Mr Aden Duale as National Assembly majority leader and National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali from their positions to do so “and see how we will paralyse the business of both Houses”.

“Murkomen and Duale cannot be touched,” Mr Rono told the Nation by phone.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech criticised Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala for threatening to table a motion to change the House leadership, saying Mr Malala is a nobody in Jubilee.

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He added that such changes can only be done through a Jubilee parliamentary group meeting.

“Who is Malala to suggest that the Jubilee House leadership should be changed? On what basis should the two be removed? These busybodies do not understand what Murkomen and Duale have done to the government,” Mr Koech said.

“Our opponents think they can dictate to us what to do in our party. Just recently, they wanted the President to remove certain individuals from the Cabinet.”

On Saturday during the BBI consultative meeting at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega, Senator Malala and Wajir Woman Representative Fatuma Gedi joined the debate on removing Mr Murkomen and Mr Duale from their posts in the two Houses.

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Sources told the Nation that MPs Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town), Joshua Kutuny (Cherang’any), Amos Kimunya (Kipipiri), Paul Koinange (Kiambaa) and Muturi Kigano (Kangema) are discussing the move.

Mr Koech’s sentiments were echoed by Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, who said those not happy with Mr Ruto succeeding the President want to scuttle his ambitions.

“Those used to deceitful politics are out to ensure our party is destroyed. Let them know that they will not succeed in their plans. We have plans too,” Mr Sudi said.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and Aldai MP Cornelius Serem told Mr Odinga and his team to stop using the BBI as a weapon to meddle in Jubilee affairs.

“Suggesting changes in Senate and National Assembly leadership is pedestrian talk,” Mr Cherargei said.

“The ones saying that are not Jubilee members. Let them resign from their parties and move to Jubilee. We will not allow Raila and his team to destroy our party.”

Mr Serem said Jubilee has not been declared incapacitated and so there is no point of making claims meant to finish Mr Ruto, whom he described as an equal shareholder in the party just as Mr Kenyatta.

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Kenya: Universities in Limbo With VCs Serving in Acting Capacity

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Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment), 2018 was signed into law in January 2019 to bring order into recruitment of top university administrators, but one year later, the chaos remains.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has been unable to recruit vice-chancellors, deputy vice-chancellors and principals of colleges and where it has succeeded, the exercises have been challenged in court.

Last year’s appointment of Prof George Magoha, once the University of Nairobi’s VC, as Education Cabinet Secretary has not made the situation any better.

UoN CASE

As such, several universities have been left with acting managers, the latest case involving UoN, where Prof Isaac Mbeche will continue to act until a substantive VC is appointed.

The university’s council, chaired by Prof Julia Ojiambo, appointed Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama on January 5 but the CS revoked the decision. Prof Magoha also dissolved the council.

Prof Kiama had taken over from Prof Peter Mbithi and his installation had been set for Tuesday.

Prof Mbeche has been the acting VC since July 2019, when Prof Mbithi left the institution to pave way for recruitment of a substantive VC.

COURT ORDERS

Last October, the Labour court in Eldoret suspended the appointment of Prof Anne Nangulu as Bomet University College principal.

Following a petition, the court also suspended the appointment of two deputy principals – Prof George Otieno (Deputy Principal, Academic and Student Affairs) and Prof Loice Maru (Deputy Principal, Administration and Finance).

At Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, all top four managers are also holding the positions in acting capacity despite interviews mid last year.

The vacancy positions are VC and three deputy VCs, for Academic and Student Affairs, Administration and Finance, and Planning, Research and Innovation.

MMUST tapped Prof Joseph Bosire from Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, where he was Deputy VC for Academic Affairs since December 2018.

He headed the institution until mid last year, when he was replaced with Prof Asenath Sigot.

Dr Patrick Ojera is acting DVC Administration and Finance, Dr Benaditte Sabuni acting DVC Academic and Students Affairs, and Prof Charles Mutai acting DVC Planning , Research and Innovation.

OTHER CASES

At Taita Taveta University, Prof Fred Simiyu Barasa was appointed acting VC after Prof Hamadi Boga was appointed Agriculture Principal Secretary in 2018.

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At Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, the PSC conducted interviews for recruitment of the Academic Affairs and Administration DVCs.

However, Prof Robert Kinyua and Prof Bernard Wamuti Ikua are still holding the respective positions in acting capacity.

In the case of Garissa University, the PSC has advertised the VC post, while at Moi University, Prof Daniel Tarus is holding the Finance DVC position in acting capacity.

At Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Prof Washington Olima is temporarily holding the Planning and Administration position.

Kibabii and Laikipia universities have no substantive DVCs, Finance and Administration.

COUNCILS’ POWERS