Murkomen sacks KAA boss, moves top managers

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen is taken round by Airport Engineer Danson Mwangi and Airport Manager Abel Gogo on August 26, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

When Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said on Friday night he would give an update following a power blackout that left travellers stranded at the JKIA, there was no hint on what would follow.

Murkomen was reacting on his social media handles following a blackout that grounded activities at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

 “I will be announcing the decision we will make tomorrow at 9 am at JKIA after a meeting with the leadership of the airport,”Muromen shared.

The CS arrived at the airport yesterday at 10 am for a closed-door meeting with the airport management before stepping out to announce the changes.

In the wake of the countrywide power outage, CS Murkomen on Saturday announced that the services of Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Managing Director were no longer needed.

“By mutual consent, the contract of Mr Alex Gitari who has been the Managing Director of KAA has been terminated. In his place, Henry Ogoye, currently serving as the Head of Corporate Planning has been appointed to be the Acting MD,” said Murkomen.

At the same time, the CS announced the appointment of Samuel Mwochache as KAA General Manager of Project and Engineering Services, replacing Fred Odawo.

“The contract of Fred Odawo who has been the General Manager of Project and Engineering Services has been terminated, and in his place Eng Samuel Mwochache appointed in an acting capacity,” he stated.

Other changes announced include the appointment of Selina Gor as the new JKIA Airport Manager and Abel Gogo as the Mombasa Airport Manager. Peter Wafula has been moved to the Kisumu International Airport as manager.

Gloomy airfield

Photos shared by the passengers who were at the airport around 9:45 pm on Friday night portrayed a gloomy airfield, the only visible light at the time being emitted from mobile phones around.

 “I am really sorry for what has happened at JKIA with the blackout. There is no excuse worth reporting and there is no reason why our airport is in darkness,” Murkomen shared.

It wasn’t until 2:57 am in the morning when Kenya Power released an update that power was restored at the airport and other critical areas within the city.

There were contradicting reports on how long the crucial facility was plunged into darkness, a situation that has never been reported in the past.

Just after the country was plunged into darkness there were reports that runways were equally dark as frantic efforts to restore the power were on.

Murkomen however said the incident did not pose any danger to incoming and outgoing flights.

But the CS stated, “The backup generator lighting the runway and control tower was seamlessly deployed when the blackout occurred and at no time did we have an iota of darkness on the runway and the tower.”

The CS admitted that over the last few years, the Kenya Airports Authority has faced a series of mishaps occasioned by the management and political interference.

The exercise, he said, is expected to be completed in the next two weeks.

Energy CS Davis Chirchir who visited Juja National control power substation on Saturday afternoon said a main generator in Lake Turkana wind generation dropped on Friday.

“This is a new challenge which we had never experienced before, and all the engineers had to be alerted to go back to the power stations to save the situation,” he said.