Assembly to vet Abdulswamad Nassir nominees after intrigues, intense lobbying

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir’s list of proposed executive committee members will be taken to the assembly scheduled to convene on Thursday.

Deputy Leader of Majority Fadhil Makarani said the vetting of the 10 nominees will start this Thursday (February 16) and end on Monday next week (February 20).

“After Monday, we will start vetting the chief officers because we want this government to start delivering its promises,” he said.

Nassir is yet to put in place a Cabinet five months since he was sworn into office, in what is blamed on conflicting interests and a tough balancing act around pre-election pacts.

In November last year, he shelved his list of nominees and opted for a competitive process that was led by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).

A source said 570 people had applied for the 10 executive slots. The applicants included former executives who served in Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Nairobi counties.

“We shortlisted 110 people who we interviewed before we sent 30 names to the governor to select 10. The governor wanted a lean team that can help him achieve his agenda,” said the source. The Standard, however, established that Nassir fought off pressure from some ODM leaders in Mombasa and Nairobi who had a preferred list.

Tuesday, February 14, an MCA, who did not want to be mentioned because the list has not been formally tabled in the House, said there was intense lobbying for the positions.

“I can tell you that Nassir stood his ground. The list he has sent to us was arrived at after intensive consultations and interviews,” said the ODM MCA.

He said Nassir had to do regional balancing and make sure that no group felt left out because of tribe, religion, or based on how their sub-county voted in the last election. “Former Governor Hassan Joho was not the issue. He has kept his promise not to interfere with Nassir’s administration,” said a member of the committee that interviewed the nominees.

The nominees are Dr Mbwarali Kame of Education and Digital Transformation, Mr Evans Oanda (Finance and Economic Planning), Dr Swabah Omar (Health), Mr Daniel Manyalla (Transport and Infrastructure), Ms Emily Okella (Water) and Mr Mohammed Hussein Mohammed of Lands.

Others are Mr Kenneth Muigai (Public Service Administration), Ms Kibibi Khamis (Blue Economy, Agriculture, and Livestock), and Mr Mohamed Osman (Tourism, Culture, and Trade). Yesterday, The Standard established that several petitions had been filed against some nominees, including one by Mombasa-based activist Julias Ogogoh of the Commission for Human Rights and Justices. 

“Yes, we have filed petitions against some and we will be keenly following to see whether Speaker Harub Khatri will give them the seriousness they deserve,” said Ogogoh.

Last week, the governors also named 16 chief officer nominees whose names will also go through the county assembly. About foul chief officers who served under Joho have been retained. According to an advert in The Standard, the vetting of the chief officers will be concluded on Monday next week.

Nassir has retained chief officer Albert Keno in the Transport and Infrastructure docket, Information and Communication Technology chief officer Anwar Said, and Khamis Kurichwa of Youth, Sports and Social Services.

Former Public Health chief officer Pauline Oginga was moved to the Environment docket. Former Public Health director Shem Patta was named chief officer for clinical services, and director for Education Rosylin Sidi Randu will be the new chief officer for Education.

Justina Kavuu Mwikya will head the Public Service Administration. Others named are Swaleh Mwalizuma (Tourism), Gloria Mwasi (Finance), Rukiya Abdulrahman (Governance), and Abdalla Daleno (Public Health). Mariam Mapenzi will serve in the Water and Sanitation department.

Others appointed are Ali Abdulrahman (Lands), Shehan Nanda (Blue Economy, Agriculture, and Livestock), Jibril Maalim (Policy and Planning), and John Kiprop, who will serve in the Department of Renewable Energy, Natural Resources and Climate Change Resilience. Meanwhile, Nassir’s attempt to impose levies on cargo at the port of Mombasa in a Bill has been rejected by Attorney General Justin Muturi on account of increasing the cost of operations at the port.

Muturi argued that the move would make the port of Mombasa expensive for importers and exporters and declared it unconstitutional.

[Story by Benard Sanga, Patrick Beja and Philip Mwakio]