Kimaiyo exit adds new twist to airports boss’s job drama

Sunday June 26 2016

Kenya Airports Authority chairman David Kimaiyo.

Mr David Kimaiyo. President Uhuru Kenyatta has revoked his appointment as KAA chair and appointed retired Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi to replace him. FILE PHOTO | HABIL EVANS | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GERALD ANDAE
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Intrigues at the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) continued to play out with the revocation of chairman David Kimaiyo’s appointment just a few days to the scheduled interview for the parastatal’s managing director position.

Mr Kimaiyo was replaced by former head of Kenya Defence Forces Julius Karangi, whose “wealth of experience in security matters will bring a sense of confidence in the safety of Kenya’s airports,” according to acting managing director Yatich Kangugo.

“Mr Karangi’s attributes on security management will play an important role in securing our airports, which is a key requirement in our quest to achieve direct flights to the US,” said Mr Kangungo.

Mr Kimaiyo went home with a parting shot — the authority stinks to the skies in terms of corruption, which he says has delayed the appointment of the chief executive.

Previously, he attributed the delays to a quorum hitch.

“It is an open secret that the process of appointing a new head of the airport has been marred by a lot of interference from senior government officials and directors of the board,” he said.

“There has been intense lobbying by people who want to ensure that they put in place their right-hand man in order to cut lucrative deals at the airport,” said the former police boss.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, through a gazette notice on Friday, revoked Mr Kimaiyo’s appointment ahead of the Tuesday interviews.

This came just a week after the reversal of the terms of three directors before the end of their tenures.

Speaking to Sunday Nation, Mr Kimaiyo, whose term of office was to end in six months, said it was the prerogative of the appointing authority to determine when to revoke an appointment.

“I did not appoint myself to the office. I was appointed, and it is incumbent upon the appointing authority to tell when to revoke my appointment,” he said.

Though Mr Kimaiyo did not directly link his dismissal to his stand on the process of appointing a new managing director, he said anyone who goes against the wishes of the bosses cannot survive in that environment.

“I could not compromise my integrity to do what is not right. It is very hard for a person with my stand to survive in that environment,” said Mr Kimaiyo.

In the earlier bungled process, the KAA had on November 20 last year advertised the chief executive’s position, receiving more than 120 applications.

The ministry, however, cancelled the recruitment process amid intrigues by parties with interests in the position.

About 13 other senior managers are currently acting. The Transport ministry, in an earlier interview, said the recruitment of these officials would be done once the position of MD had been filled.

Last week, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia revoked the appointment of three board members of KAA.

Through a gazette notice, Mr Macharia sent home Ms Jacqueline Oyuyo, Mr Isaac Newton Onyango and Mr Kevin Kihara.  

In their place, the CS appointed Mr Mbatia Kimani, Mr William ole Mayiani and Jeridah Bosibori Mbaka as new directors.

Mystery also surrounds the launching of the new arrival terminals that has been cancelled three times.

The commissioning that was to be done by President Kenyatta was first cancelled in April. Two other cancellations were made last week.

The new terminals — 1A and 1E — separate the arriving and departing passengers, which is a key security requirement under international aviation standards.

This is one of the conditions issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before JKIA is elevated to a category 1 status that would allow for direct flights between Kenya and the US.

JKIA, the busiest and fastest growing logistical hub in eastern and central Africa, currently handles an average of 6.5 million passengers yearly.

Pundits say that delay in appointing a substantive head is hurting key policy decisions.