President Uhuru Kenyatta’s heads of cabinet have increased the pace of appointments to parastatal bodies and other state-owned agencies, which has been linked to the government’s term expiry following the August 9 election.
The Kenya Gazette reports that ministers last month appointed more than 150 directors for dozens of state-owned companies, less than a month before the general election.
Analysts attributed the spike in appointments to the impending change of government that would see some ministers resign, prompting them to fill board seats. However, Business Daily set up, some positions were vacant and had to be filled.
Ministers who have chaired board meetings include James Macharia (transport) and George Magoha (education).
Sources and political analysts said that days before elections, incumbent regimes often make last-minute placements, sometimes politically motivated, a case of backlog clearing, or both.
Javas Bigambo, a political analyst, said Monday appointments to boards of public companies is largely a political process that requires intense lobbying to scrutinize.
“The issue of correlation cannot be ignored. Multiple ministers could reward loyalists and the people they worked with unless proven otherwise,” Bigambo said Business Daily.
Top positions in public institutions have always been hotly contested, especially since the appointing authority is either a minister or the president.
Deputy President William Ruto, who is leading Kenya’s Kwanza coalition, and ODM party leader Raila Odinga, who is leading the Azimio coalition, are the main hopes for the succession of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who will leave office at the end of his two constitutional terms will lay down.
In the latest appointments last Friday, President Kenyatta appointed Joanne M. Yelbert as Chair of the Kenya Tourism Board for a three-year term effective July 5, 2022.
Others included Mohammed Amin Sheikh as Chair of the Insurance Inspectorate, Prof Julius O. Nyabundi as Chair of the Kenya National Examinations Council and Stephen Kuria, who will chair the Mineral Rights Board for similar three-year terms.
Eric Mungai will chair the National Environmental Management Authority; Anthony Lan Njoroge Mutugi, Chief Executive, New Kenya Co-operative Creameries Limited; Hassan M. Reche, the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union; Hellen Nangithia, the Nyayo Tea Zones Development Corporation; and Njoroge Kagwe, of the Pest Control Products Board.
Feisal Abass was appointed Chair of the Privatization Commission and Elijah Njore to the Water Services Regulatory Board.
The selection of cabinet secretaries
Finance Minister Ukur Yatani also made three appointments on Friday. He elected Abdirahin H. Abdi to chair the board of the Retirement Benefits Authority, Dennis Aroka to chair the Kenya Railways Corporation and Richard Kiplagat to chair the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority.
His fellow farmer Peter Munya also made three appointments, including Beatrice M. Kimemia, as chair of the cooperative tribunal. The others are Danson Ngaari for the Board of Trustees of the Commodities Fund and George Murathe for the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (Sasra).
ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru chose Dr. Stellah I. Onyiego and Michael Mutembei Kibutha as board members of the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, while fellow traffic officer James Macharia Maj-Rtd selected Iltasayon Neepe as a board member of the Kenya Airports Authority.
Other members appointed by Mr. Macharia are Joseph Muchina, David A. Hannigan and Matthew Macharia as board members of Athi Water Works Development Agency; Rehana Ismail, Abdul Timimi and Joseph Charo Kambi Join Board of Coast Water Works Development Agency; and Chrysanthus Muchori Gicheruh and Simon Mwangi Karuga become members of the Hydrologist Registration Committee.
Mr. Macharia also appointed Nancy Mugure Waweru, Peter Kihara and Peter Odhiambo Wandayi as members of the Governing Council of Kenya Water Institute.
Secretary of Education George Magoha elected Prof. Karuti Kanyinga to chair the University Funding Board of Trustees, while State Secretary Farida Karoney appointed Gregory M. Masika to the registrar of the Valuers Registration Board and Jacinta Katunge Mutua to chair the Valuers Registration Board.
Tourism Minister Najib Balala has appointed Naima Hassan as a board member of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.