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Transport CS Macharia cancels KAA board pick for top job


Transport CS Macharia cancels KAA board pick for top job


Transport CS James Macharia. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia has cancelled the interviews for the appointment of a managing director at Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) after the board only presented a single name.

The Business Daily has established that the KAA board presented the name of acting managing director Alex Gitari for promotion for the position that has been vacant for nearly two years.

The standard procedure requires the board to submit three names for the Cabinet secretary to tap one as head of a State corporation.

The new revelation has once again brought to the limelight the competing interests that have in the past been at the centre of recruiting a managing director at the cash-rich parastatal pitying the ministry and the board.

“The interviews were unprocedural as only one name was forwarded to the CS for the appointment. Ideally, a CS should be given three names for him to choose one, this is what led to the cancellation,” said a source at the KAA familiar with the recruitment.

The agency has been without a substantive head for close to two years after the term of the Norwegian Johnny Andersen ended in 2019 and the expatriate opted against a second term.

The hiring hitch comes with the end of Isaac Awuondo’s term as chair and that of a board member Bootsy Mutiso at the end of this month, further slowing down the appointment of the new boss at one of Kenya’s major installations.

The KAA conducted the first interview in February last year with the second one happening in March.

The front runners for the agency’s top job were Mr Gitari, former general manager marketing at KAA Jimmy Kibati and Joseph Njoroge from the Ministry of Transport.

Mr Kibati has so far resigned from the KAA under unclear circumstances.

The recruitment of a new chief executive at the airports agency has always been marred with political interference being at the centre stage of the appointment.

In 2015, the KAA witnessed a bungled process in the appointment of the new managing director following the resignation of Lucy Mbugua who had been accused of corruption.

Efforts to replace her hit a dead end on three occasions.

Mr Macharia cancelled the recruitment process and appointed consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers to hire afresh even as vested interests fought viciously for the job, leading to the tapping of an expatriate-Andersen.

Former KAA chairperson David Kimaiyo said State officials and some of the directors keen to put their cronies in the position had mired the process.

Mr Macharia had not responded to calls and the text messages sent by the Business Daily on the latest recruitment hitch by press time.

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