Anxiety at Mombasa port over appointment of new MD and privatization of port services

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Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) acting Managing Director , Mr John Mwangemi, hands over a certificate to the captain of MV Spirit being the first transshipment cargo vessel to dock at Lamu Port. He was flanked by KPA’s General Manager, Lamu Port, Engineer Abdullahi Samatar and KPA General Manager Corporate Services Edward Kamau. PHOTO/KPA

By SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Anxiety has gripped maritime stakeholders at the Mombasa Port over the appointment of a new managing director and reports of the planned privatization of key services at Kenya’s three leading ports.

The contract of the current acting Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director, Mr John Mwangemi, last month and it is yet to be renewed by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

The question of a new MD at KPA comes at a time the government is grappling with allegations of giving concessions to a Dubai based investor to operate strategic services at Mombasa, Lamu and Kisumu ports.

Mr Yatani is faced with the hard decision of either extending the contract of Mr Mwangemi who is facing criticism following controversial internal transfers and promotions, or appointing a new person at the helm of the top maritime parastatal.

Kenya Kwanza opposition leaders have taken the government to task over plans of considering signing a concession agreement with a foreign investor in the development, operations, management and expansion of transport logistics at the country’s three leading ports.

Three names of senior managers at KPA have been forwarded to CS Yatani by the KPA board of directors as possible candidates to replace Mr Mwangemi who is still serving as Kenya High Commissioner to Rwanda. 

The names forwarded to CS Yatani of the possible candidates to replace Mr Mwangemi include that of former Kenya Ferry Services [KFS] managing director Bakari Gowa after the government absorbed the KFS operations t under a new KPA management. Gowa was redeployed as KPA General Manager in charge of ferry services.

The other names are that of KPA General Manager in charge of Infrastructure Development Engineer Abdullahi Samatar, KPA General Manager Corporate Service Edward Kamau and KPA General Manager Operations and Harbour Sudi Mwasingo.

We are still making efforts to get a comment from Mr Yatani’s office. The Dockworkers Union (DWU) has threatened to move to court to oppose a government move to allow a Dubai investor to operate key services at the Mombasa, Lamu and Kisumu ports.

 

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