KPA chief's contract extended as search for successor gains steam

Kenya Ports Authority’s acting managing director John Mwangemi. [File, Standard]

The contract of Kenya Ports Authority’s acting managing director has been extended by three months to allow recruitment of a substantive office holder.

On Wednesday, John Mwangemi said he would not apply for the job he has held in an acting capacity since July 1, 2021, but confirmed that his contract had been extended.

“Yes, my contract has been extended by three months. I’m on leave until January 15 when I will report back and work until a new MD is appointed,” said Mwangemi.

Mr Mwangemi, 61, who also served as Kenya’s ambassador to Rwanda between 2013 and 2019 was appointed to KPA on June 25 to replace Rashid Salim. He took office on July 1, 2021.

The MD’s post fell vacant following the resignation of Dr Daniel Manduku, the current Nyaribari Masaba MP, in 2020. On March 3, 2021, the then National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani rejected three names forwarded by the board for the position.

Wednesday, KPA Chairman General (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana said they had received a big number of applicants, barely 13 days since they put up an advertisement for the post whose deadline is January 13.

John Mwangemi (centre) at the KPA during a past meeting. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

“The response is good. One box is already full of applications from potential candidates. We have decided to add another box,” said Kibwana.

Mr Kibwana said the board was keen to complete the recruitment process in three months.

Yesterday, The Standard established that senior managers at the port are among those battling for the coveted seat. KPA general managers Abdullahi Samatar and Sudi Mwasinago confirmed interest in the post.

“Yes, I have submitted my application,” said Samatar. A confidant also confirmed Mwasinago’s interest.

Coast leaders, in a meeting with President William Ruto, last Saturday demanded that a resident from the region should occupy the post.

KPA has not had a substantive chief executive officer since the resignation of Dr Manduku in 2020.

Mr Mwangemi took over from Mr Salim, who had also worked in an acting capacity for over one year. Manduku took over from Catherine Mturi Wairi on June 9, 2018.