Simmering deep bottled-up tension at the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) could soon spillover to the public gallery exposing the Board of directors to possible acts of commission or omission in the alleged flawed recruitment process of the current Director General (DG) Kung’u Ndung’u, The Informer has learnt.
It is alleged that Ndung’u emerged distant fourth among the interviewed candidates and the board chaired by embattled Engineer Wangai Ndirangu went ahead to recommend his name for appointment to Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
According to impeccable sources, Eng. Francis Gitau, Infrastructure Secretary at the State Department of Infrastructure who also doubles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NAMATA) emerged the top candidate.
“The current Director General Kung’u Ndung’u emerged number four amongst those interviewed. Number one was the NAMATA Chief Executive Officer Engineer Francis Gitau. The term of the chairman of the Board of Directors Wangai Ndirangu who has since fallen out and are not in good terms with the DG is ending this month.” Our source disclosed.
The new revelations come at a time the chairman’s term is ending this month after fighting to remain in office despite being dragged in court case seeking his ouster citing that his appointment was irregular since by then, he was an employee at the Jomo Kenyatta University and Technology (JKUAT) as a lecturer which is against the law.
Besides Kung’u, and Gitau, others who applied and were shortlisted for the interviews for the DG post include; Eng David Muchilwa who has been serving as Director for Development and who previously served as KeNHA’s General Manager Special Projects, Eng. Samuel Omer, director, Highway Planning and Design, Eng James Gatitu who serves as the director Policy, Strategy and Compliance as well as Eng Mutii Kivoto who has been the General Manager Maintenance.
“The current DG scored poorly in the interviews compared to his colleagues and they still regard his as their junior in the engineering professional growth despite him being their boss.” Our source added.
At the time, Kung’u was serving as the director Roads Asset and Corridor Management.
Through an internal memo dated July 20, 2021, Wangai said Muchilwa has been appointed to perform the duties of Director General in an acting capacity with immediate effect until the vacancy is substantively filled following the retirement of former DG Peter Mundinia.
Mundinia proceeded on leave from July 30, 2021 ahead of the expiry of his service contract on August 28, 2021.
Consequently, on August 3, 2021 KeNHA Board of Directors, which is mandated to undertake the recruitment process on behalf on the roads agency, through Wangai, placed a newspaper advertisement inviting interested people to send their applications for the position that was, by then, being held by Muchilwa in acting capacity.
“Pursuant to the provisions of the Roads Act, 2007, the Board of Directors invites applications from suitably qualified Kenyan citizens who wish to be considered for the position of Director General, Kenya National Highway Authority. Interested candidates are expected to fulfill the requirements of Chapter Six of the Kenya Constitution, 2010.” The advertisement read in part.
The announcement instructed interested persons to deliver their application letters and curriculum vitaes to the agency by August 23, 2021 at 5 pm.
The advert further indicated that the successful candidates will serve on a contract for a period of three years which is renewable only once “subject to satisfactory performance and delivery of the set performance targets and outcomes”.
Wangai’s term at KeNHA comes to an end this month.
Lobbying to succeed Wangai at the lucrative agency has begun in earnest involving some directors of the board and external parties affiliated to both the Azmio and Kenya Kwanza political outfits led by Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto respectively.
Among the insiders said to harbour interests include Eng. Samuel Omer, director, Highway Planning and Design, former Regional Development Permanent Secretary Eng Carey Orege, who is a member of the board and corporate guru Winnie Ngumi among others.