Catherine Mturi Wairi
Revealed: The likely new KPA managing director
BY ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN
- Lobby wants the position of Kenya Ports Authority managing director filled after former boss was sacked alongside other top officers
- The top management were shown the door in a move that the government declared was aimed at ridding the port of corruption
- The Coast leaders have accused the government of playing politics and hatching a plan to bypass the acting MD Ms Catherine Mturi Wairi for confirmation to the position even after she beat four others in the shortlist
- Opinion is divided on whether Ms Wairi should be confirmed or the position be given to Stanley Chai who is a maritime expert compared to Ms Wairi who is a financial expert.
The government is set to appoint a new Kenya Ports Authority managing director with the race narrowing to two coastals.
Those ear-marked to be appointed as the new KPA managing director are Ms Catherine Mturi Wairi who is the current acting MD and Mr Stanley Ndenge Chai, a career maritime expert and consultant.
Ms Wairi is a finance professional who has served in various roles over the last 23 years at the KPA up to the level of general manager finance before being elevated to acting MD
She also holds a number of qualifications including an MBA in Strategic Management from USIU, BSc. in Finance and Accounting from USIU, CPA, CPS and a Certified SAP Consultant.
She is a member of Institute of Directors, ICPAK, CPS, Local Tax Committee, WOMESA and the Trustee KPA Staff Pension Scheme.
However, Ms Wairi is facing stiff competition from Mr Chai, a PhD economic student at Moi University and a career maritime expert.
Mr Chai who also holds a Master of Science degree in port management from the World Maritime University and a BA in economics from Egerton University is said to be head-to-head in the race with Ms Wairi in who becomes the new KPA boss.
The maritime expert who has more than 20 years experience in the shipping industry has worked in ports in Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden among others.
The government kick-started the search for a new KPA managing director after the former boss was fired.
KPA Board of Directors chairman in a public notice in late February said that the KPA was urgently seeking to recruit a “high calibre, motivated, visionary, dynamic and results-oriented individual to fill the position of managing director”.
Former KPA MD Mr Ndua who had served for five years was sacked on February 9, together with top officials and police officers at the Mombasa port over corruption. Mr Ndua was ordered to proceed on terminal leave pending the expiry of his contract in July. Read more Port, KRA bosses fired in graft purge
Ms Mturi replaced Mr Ndua in acting capacity. The Mombasa port is one of Kenya’s most important assets and whose management has a direct bearing on the country and the region’s economic health.
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Mr Ndua’s sacking coincided with that of top KPA officials, including former general manager for operations Twalib Khamisi, former general manager for board and legal services Muthoni Gatere, former general manager for corporate services Justis Nyarandi and former head of security Mohamed Morowa.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, his transport counterpart James Macharia, Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner-General John Njiraini and Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said the sackings were aimed at ridding the port of corruption.
Mr Macharia said then that the port’s board had established that staff had failed to fully carry out their duties “to stop or mitigate the possibility of port work and delivery being compromised”.
The sackings were taken on the recommendations of an inter-agency committee formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to look into issues affecting the port.
However, Coast leaders have started lobbying for who should be appointed the new KPA boss.
Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Gunga Mwinga has urged the government to confirm Ms Wairi to the position.
Mr Mwinga wondered why KPA chairman Major (Rtd) Marsden Madoka was taking too long to confirm her to the position since immediate KPA MD Gichiri Ndua proceeded on early retirement in February.
“The government has hatched a scheme not to confirm her to the position after Mr Ndua’s exit,” he said.
Mr Mwinga said MsWairi sat for the interview after being shortlisted and she emerged the best among five candidates.
Port users blame inefficiencies at the Mombasa port on mismanagement, saying politics had taken centre stage in the recruitment of staff.
During his recent coast tours, President Kenyatta has vowed that he would fight corruption at the port and enhance its efficiency.
Others who were shortlisted for an interview for the top job were Daniel Manduku, KPA GM Engineering Service Joseph Atonga, and Zakayo Ole Mapelo.One of the candidates Grace Kimei pulled out at the last minute.