A new managing director was named for the Kenya Airports Authority. He is Mr Stephen Mwangi Gichuki who was appointed by the acting minister for transport, Mr Amos Kimunya on Friday.
Mr Gichuki was the corporation’s general manager for finance and projects. Mr Kimunya was named acting minister for transport on Wednesday evening and the naming of Mr Gichuki must have been his first assignment of note.
The appointment is likely to bring the corporation and Transport ministry into conflict with Parliament, which had recommended a repeat of the process of recruiting the new MD to take over from Mr George Muhoho, who retired three weeks ago.
The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Mr David Were, was shocked by the decision taken by the ministry in disregard of a report pending in Parliament. The team had recommended that the process of recruiting a new MD for KAA should be repeated after the one that picked Mr Gichuki was considered to be suspect.
The committee said Mr Gichuki’s marks were “so apart from the rest, suggesting that the ranking was skewed for a particular purpose or to favour a particular candidate”. Mr Gichuki was awarded 91 per cent compared to his closest rival’s 68 per cent.
Board chairman Martin Wambora communicated the appointment of Gichuki to members of staff and said it was based on the recommendation of the board dated February 24, 2010. Mr Gichuki will head the corporation for three years.
The acting managing director has been Mr Matthew Wamalwa who is the deputy managing director, said he was confident that Gichuki would take the authority to a higher level given his considerable experience, qualifications and competence.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry of transport Mr Cyrus Njiru, sent a letter to the chairman barely 24 hours after Mr Kimunya was named the acting minister for transport by President Kibaki in Wednesday’s Cabinet reshuffle.
The letter informed Mr Wambora that the acting minister had accepted the board’s recommendation to give the job to Gichuki. The appointment was likely to put Mr Kimunya at loggerheads with fellow legislators given the recommendations the transport committee had made in its report tabled in parliament last week.
Kimunya is not new to controversy with fellow legislators following his censure by parliament two years ago in the manner in which he disposed off the Grand Regency hotel to Libyans while serving as the minister for finance. He resigned after a motion of censure sponsored by the Ikolomani MP Dr Bonni Khalwale was unanimously passed by Parliament.