President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Cabinet bosses have increased the pace of appointments to parastatal boards and other state-owned agencies in what is being linked to the expiry of the tenure of the government after the August 9 poll.
The Kenya Gazette notices show that ministers have in the past month appointed over 150 directors to dozens of state corporations less than a month before the general election.
Analysts based the spike in appointments on the impending change of government that would see the exit of some of the ministers, prompting them to fill board seats. However, Business Daily established some positions had been vacant and needed to be filled up.
Ministers who have been at the forefront of the boardroom shifts include James Macharia (Transport) and George Magoha (Education).
Sources and political analysts said days to elections, incumbent regimes often make last-minute placements that are sometimes politically motivated, a case of clearing up appointment backlogs or both.
Javas Bigambo, a political analyst, said on Monday the appointment to boards of public enterprises is largely a political process that calls for intense lobbying for consideration.
“The issue of correlation cannot be ignored. Several ministers could reward loyalists and the people they have worked with unless proven otherwise,” Mr Bigambo told the Business Daily.
Top jobs in public institutions have always been hotly contested, especially because the appointing authority is either a minister or the President.
Deputy President William Ruto who leads the Kenya Kwanza coalition and ODM party leader Raila Odinga who leads the Azimio coalition are the leading hopefuls to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, who will leave office at the end of his constitutional two terms.
In the latest appointments made last Friday, President Kenyatta appointed Joanne M. Yelbert to be the chairperson of the Kenya Tourism Board for three years with effect from July 5, 2022.
Others were Mohammed Amin Sheikh to chair the Insurance Regulatory Authority, Prof Julius O. Nyabundi as Kenya National Examinations Council chairman and Stephen Kuria who will head the Mineral Rights Board, for similar terms of three years.
Eric Mungai will chair the National Environmental Management Authority; Anthony Lan Njoroge Mutugi, the New Kenya Co-operative Creameries Limited Board; Hassan M. Reche, the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union; Hellen Nangithia, the Nyayo Tea Zones Development Corporation; and Njoroge Kagwe, the Pest Control Products Board.
Feisal Abass was tapped to be the Chairperson of the Privatisation Commission, and Elijah Njore for the Water Services Regulatory Board.
Cabinet Secretaries' picks
Treasury secretary Ukur Yatani also made three appointments on Friday. He picked Abdirahin H. Abdi to chair the Retirement Benefits Authority board, Dennis Aroka, the Kenya Railways Corporation board, and Richard Kiplagat, the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority board.
His Agriculture counterpart Peter Munya also made three appointments among them Beatrice M. Kimemia to be the chairperson of the Co-operative Tribunal. The others are Danson Ngaari for the Board of Trustees of the Commodities Fund, and George Murathe for Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (Sasra).
ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru picked Dr Stellah I. Onyiego and Michael Mutembei Kibutha, to be members of the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication board, while his Transport counterpart James Macharia choose Maj-Rtd Iltasayon Neepe to be a member of the Kenya Airports Authority board.
Others appointed by Mr Macharia are Joseph Muchina, David A. Hannigan, and Matthew Macharia as members of the Athi Water Works Development Agency board; Rehana Ismail, Abdul Timimi, and Joseph Charo Kambi join the Coast Water Works Development Agency board; and Chrysanthus Muchori Gicheruh, and Simon Mwangi Karuga become members of the Hydrologists Registration board.
Mr Macharia also reappointed Nancy Mugure Waweru, Peter Kihara, and Peter Odhiambo Wandayi as members of the Governing Council of Kenya Water Institute.
Education secretary George Magoha picked Prof Karuti Kanyinga as the chairman of the Universities Funding Board of Trustees, while Lands secretary Farida Karoney appointed Gregory M. Masika to be the Registrar of the Valuers Registration Board and Jacinta Katunge Mutua to be the chair of the Valuers Registration Board.
Tourism Secretary Najib Balala appointed Naima Hassan as a member of the Board of Directors of Kenyatta International Convention Centre.