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Economy

20 State firms in the hands of acting chief executives

Dr John Akoten has been acting for close to four years at ACA. PHOTO | FILE
Dr John Akoten has been acting for close to four years at ACA. PHOTO | FILE 

About 20 State corporations, including regulators for insurance and credit unions, are operating without substantive chief executives, constraining their ability to make key decisions.

The list of bosses in acting capacity include John Mwaka who has been acting as CEO of Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (Sasra) since mid-2015, Godfrey Kiptum (Insurance Regulatory Authority), and Kenneth Tarus at Kenya Power a few weeks ago.

Also with the ‘acting’ prefix to their roles are Anthony Omerikwa at National Social Security Fund, MaryJane Mwangi (National Oil Corporation of Kenya), Mohamud Ahmed Mohamud (Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation), Timothy Tiampati (IDB Capital), and John Akoten who has served as acting executive director at the Anti-Counterfeit Agency for nearly four years.

Interim chiefs are constrained in making decisions, budgets and rolling out new projects given the uncertainty of their tenures, and the limited powers acting bosses have.

David Muturi, the executive director at the Kenya Institute of Management, called for leadership succession planning in the public service to ensure that State agencies deliver on their mandate without worrying about appointments.

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“There’s a need for proper planning as the terms of service for the chair and CEO are well known in advance,” Dr Muturi told Business Daily.

The leadership vacuum at key State firms puts on the spot ministers under whose dockets the agencies operate, as well as the board of directors of those parastatals.

The State Corporations Act gives Cabinet Secretaries wide-ranging powers to appoint chief executives of parastatals under their ministries, and only requires them to consult the board directors— usually government appointees.

KDIC chairman Julius Kipng’etich said the recruitment of a substantive CEO had entered the homestretch.

“The process is almost complete and you will be advised accordingly,” he said in response to our queries.

The key regulatory roles played by Sasra and IRA to police the market and NSSF stature as the biggest pension scheme, underline the risk of the leadership gap.

Other acting CEOs at State-backed firms are Collins Juma (Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board), Andrew Wanyonyi (National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation), Amos Wangora (KenTrade), Robert Mugo (ICT Authority), and Dan Kagwe at Posta.

Mary Luseka has been acting CEO at Brand Kenya since March last year while Alfred Busolo has been at the helm of Agriculture and Food Authority in interim capacity since August 2014.

Others acting are Sylvance Sange (Kenya Industrial Property Institute), Mercy Gathigia (Kenya National Examinations Council), Nura Mohamed (Kenya School of Government), and Joseph Kamau (Kenya Industrial Research & Development Institute).

Export Promotion Council is hunting for a new CEO after Ruth Mwaniki left to pursue politics.

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