It is now official that William Kipkemboi Ruto will take over as the new managing director for the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) for a term of three years, filling a position left vacant since 2020.
As per the announcement by Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen in a Gazette notice dated 10,March 2022,Mr Ruto takes over from John Mwangemi, who held the position in an acting capacity since last year.
Mr Mwangemi took over under difficult circumstances to replace Rashid Salim, who held the seat also on an interim basis since the controversial exit of Daniel Manduku in March 2020.
The authority has been marred with corruption scandals,boardroom wrangles and unending political interference.
For Captain William Ruto,the task ahead of him is not going to be a walk in the park whatsoever.
Billed as a seasoned mariner and having started his career at KPA in 1991 as a cadet marine desk officer,many have exuded confidence in him to deliver. But will he?
He rose through the ranks to be a general manager of operations and later the harbour master.
Until his appointment, he was the general manager of the Kisumu port.
Top on the list for him is dealing with the organizational structure, stabilizing the agency from losses worth billions that are often incurred through corruption and the never ending mysterious disappearance of containers.
An intelligence report in our possession details the big mess that has troubled the authority and could perhaps serve as a proper lead for the new MD.
As per the report, KPA has since April 2022 been implementing a revised organization structure.
The exercise has been mired in irregularities, illegalities and was fraught with political patronage, cronyism, tribalism, interference from Cartels and agents of state capture.
The report adds that the exercise was “opaque” and failed to meet the basic tenets of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 on the principles of transparency, accountability on prudent use of public funds and public participation.
Furthermore as the report indicates: “The said exercise did not get the approval of the Public Service Commission and the Salaries and Remuneration Committee considering several Very Senior positions were created which legally should be filled competitively through advertisement to give deserving Kenyans an opportunity or even advertised internally to ensure all KPA employees get fair opportunity to compete,”
It admits that a small cabal of entrepreneurs crafted a list which the Minister for Finance and National Treasury imposed on the Board for implementation without due process or criteria for the promotions.
There are specific cases where employees have been irregularly and discriminatorily promoted more than two grades upwards to the very senior management at the expense of very senior and experienced serving staff.
Among whose promotions have triggered public outrage and could be affected include; Anderson Mutalaki (General Manager engineering services) who was previously a principal officer and was promoted 2 grades higher, Evelyn Shigoli (head of procurement) also promoted two grades higher and John Turasha (general manager legal) who were promoted one grade higher.
Shigoli has previously been under fire for floating tenders and some reports have linked her to secret meetings with senior officers in government to seek protection from an imminent sack.
The new KPA boss has been advised by the intelligence team to cancel the entire irregular exercise and revert to the structure prior to March 2022.
Shigoli had earlier issued tenders to colleagues and friends in order to facilitate some funds for her protection at the Port.
The public Service Commission’s technical team is also to undertake a value for money technical evaluation of the proposed structure and align it with the constitution and the aspirations of the new government.
Every 10 years The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) reviews its organization structure to align it with changing trends in the industry, the Public Service HR guidelines and international best practice.
The last such review was done and implemented in 2012 KPA with the guidance of the State Corporation Advisory Committee (SCAC) embarked on a Human Resource Instruments review concluded on 5th March 2021.
The instruments were approved in April 2021 by the State Corporation Advisory Committee albeit with comments. Via an Executive order the Operations of the Defunct Kenya Ferry Services Lts were transferred to KPA.
The Human Resource Instruments also took cognizance of restructuring of Kenya Ferry Services Limited, and absorption of its employees into Kenya Ports Authority.
The Head of Public Service communicated the SCAC approval for the Authority to implement the SCAC approved Human Resource instruments.
Among those to be affected includes, Anderson Mutalaki (General manager engineering services), Evelyne Shigoli (head of procurement)John Turasha (general manager legal).
Shigoli is said to have floated some tenders and gave some to Wetangula so that she will not be demoted from the current position.
The port has lost a lot of revenue running into billions within the last 10 years and the new sheriff in town has his job cut-out direct from procurement since Shigoli Tom over, she has placed her own people to oversee the spree of looting activities at the Port.