Nine candidates have been shortlisted for the post of Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) director- general.
Acting KMA boss Cosmas Cherop, the authority’s head of commercial shipping John Omingo, and former Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) managing director Musa Hassan Musa are among those shortlisted for the position that attracted 23 applicants.
The KMA board of directors also shortlisted Eunice Wacheki Wahuni, Major (Rtd) Nishit Dhanavantrai Maru, and Container Freight Association of Kenya executive officer Daniel Nzeki. Others are Evelyn Umazi Mwamure, maritime consultant Stanley Ndenge Chai, and Julius Nyong’a Segera.
Former Garsen MP Danson Mungatana was among politicians who had applied, but was not shortlisted. The board advertised for the position on October 17 for the fourth time.
The position fell vacant over two years ago when Nancy Karigithu was appointed the Maritime and Shipping Affairs principal secretary with Mr Cherop taking over in an acting capacity.
Since then, the process of hiring her successor has been dogged by controversy with claims of nepotism and a section of local leaders demanding that the post should be taken up by a competent professional from the Coast.
Last year, some activists led by Genesis for Human Rights Commission programme officer Caleb Ngwena held demonstrations claiming that the board had influenced the recruitment of senior managers.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission also launched investigations into claims of irregular hiring and flawed tendering by the board.
Some of those appointments were later cancelled with one group filing a case at the High Court to restrain the board and management from conducting any recruitment until a substantive- director general is hired.
The new boss at the maritime regulator is expected to revitalise the sector, with the government keen on exploiting the huge potential of the blue economy.
KMA is constructing a Sh1.8 billion building that will house its headquarters, giving it more autonomy as a regulator. KMA is hosted by Kenya Ports Authority, which it regulates.
HPC Hamburg consultants are conducting a study to establish areas of capacity building for KMA with the view of strengthening its regulatory mandate, according to Mr Cherop.
The consultancy is funded by the World Bank to the tune of Sh120 million.
“The consultant will also assess logistics costs incurred on imports and exports though Mombasa port,” Mr Cherop said in an earlier interview.