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Mystery as Kenya Ports Authority chair’s seat remains empty


The position of chairman board of Kenya Ports Authority is still vacant four months after the expiry of the term of its last holder Danson Mungatana.
Contrary to known tradition, Mungatana had been appointed to serve for only eight months. And after the expiry of his term, the outspoken former Garsen MP has been canvassing through influential personalities in the corridors of power to have his term extended but no signs so far suggest he could make a comeback.
A fortnight ago, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho and area MPs skipped a function presided over by William Ruto at the port of Mombasa after rumours rocked the seaside city that the function was meant to instal Joho’s rival Suleiman Shahbal as the new KPA chair. Shahbal is currently among Jubilee pointmen in Mombasa after he defected to Jap a few weeks ago.
And after Shahbal failed to land the KPA chairmanship, it was claimed the government had retreated after the issue became hot and threatened to rock the Jubilee boat at the Coast. It is claimed TNA and URP officials and supporters complained that Shahbal who joined the government side just a few weeks earlier was being rewarded so fast yet majority of those who have stood with Jubilee have not been considered.
The Mijikenda leaders in Mombasa are said to have telephoned Labour cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi and asked him to tell DP Ruto that the community would feel offended if one of their own was not considered and instead the KPA post goes to an Arab.
Unconfirmed reports say, the port chairman post is now in the control of URP side in the power sharing arrangement. The MD’s post which is currently held by Gichiri Ndua is the domain of TNA. As such, it is DP Ruto who will determine who becomes the next KPA chair, it is being pointed out.
But even as lobbying for the post intensifies, there are claims some Mombasa tycoons are assembling millions of shillings to influence the appointment of a person of their choice. Sources familiar with the scheme said the tycoons are targeting to collect as much as Sh50 million to ‘buy’ the post. The person they propose will be appointed and tasked with protecting their business interests at the port of Mombasa in addition to canvassing for lucrative tenders.
But in the event Ruto decides to appease the Mijikenda, some of the names being floated include that of former assistant minister for Immigration and former Coast PC Francis Baya.
Former Bahari MP Joe Khamisi’s name is also being mentioned. The former MP who resides in America vied for the Kilifi North parliamentary seat on URP but lost to ODM’s Gedion Mung’aro.
Others being proposed include URP national elections board chairman Nyule Ngumbao who is a former district commissioner. The name of businessman Julius Saha from Rabai who is the patron of Kaya elders is also featuring, sources pointed out.
Those who were with Baya and Nyule in URP campaigns at the Coast and whom Ruto has since rewarded with government appointments include legal adviser in DP’s office Anania Mwaboza, Kenya Bureau of Standards chair Lucas Maitha, Kenya Maritime Authority chair Kitambi Digore and Kenya Petroleum Refineries chair Suleiman Shakombo.
Even though many initially thought former Matuga MP Chirau Mwakwere’s appointment as Kenya’s high commissioner to Tanzania was brokered by Ruto, the former Transport minister has told close friends that were it not for Uhuru Kenyatta, he would still be in the political cold.
He claimed Ruto was opposed to his being appointed to anything. During the elections, Mwakwere was a URP campaigner even though at some point he wavered in his support and made critical comments against the DP, something that did not go down well with a section in the Ruto inner circle.

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