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President appoints former Kinango MP as chairman of KPA

 Kinango MP Benjamin Tayari. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The government has made changes at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) with immediate former Kinango MP Benjamin Dalu Tayari being appointed to the board as chairman.

Mr Tayari, who lost the Kinango seat to his archrival, Mr Gonzi Rai of the Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) in the August 2022 polls, has been appointed to serve to the KPA board for a term of three years.

He replaces Gen (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana who was appointed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta to serve for a second term of three years. 

Mr Tayari had vied on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket.

The appointment was contained in a Kenya gazette notice dated January 12, 2023. Tayari was expected to take over with effect on January 13.

Second term

Mr Tayari was among the key allies of President Ruto at the Coast who had not been appointed to government positions. With the appointment, former Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani now stands out as one of the allies still in the waiting queue for the appointment.

In the Gazette notice, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen revoked the reappointment of Gen Kibwana for a second term as chairman.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 4 (a) of the Kenya Ports Authority Act as read together with section 51 (1) of the Interpretation and General Provisions Act, the Cabinet Secretary for Roads and Transport appoints Benjamin Dalu Tayari to be chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kenya Ports Authority for three years,” said the notice.

Gen Kibwana was removed from KPA at a time when the board was in the process of recruiting a substantive managing director to replace acting MD John Mwangemi

Mr Tayari’s appointment comes barely two days after applications for the new KPA MD were closed on Friday. The vetting process for applicants is set to start today after dozens of applications were received following the advertisement for the position. 

Acting capacity

Mr Mwangemi, who was appointed in an acting capacity by retired President Kenyatta will exit the port in the next two months. Mr Mwangemi took over from engineer Rashid Salim who retired after acting as managing director for about two years.

KPA has not had a substantive managing director since the removal of Dr Daniel Manduku about three years ago.

The changes in the board and management of KPA signal the start of a major surgery of the key parastatal by the Kenya Kwanza government, which had accused Uhuru’s administration of allegedly trying to sell the port operation for a song to foreign entities.

The Uhuru regime had planned to engage Dubai Port World to upgrade facilities at Mombasa, Lamu and Kisumu ports. KPA’s board chairman is one of the most lucrative jobs in the country.

The holder oversees lucrative tenders which run into billions of shillings. Among the lucrative tenders at KPA include the supply of port equipment worth billions of shillings, constructions of infrastructure and other tenders linked to the port activity.

When Murkomen took over the docket of Roads and Transport, he said he will streamline port management by reducing the positions of 14 general managers which were previously created.

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