NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The Parliamentary Committee on Transport has recommended that the recruitment of the next Managing Director at the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) start afresh to correct alleged flaws in the current process.
After meeting top Transport Ministry officials on Tuesday, the committee concluded that the process had been rushed therefore blocking potential candidates and eroding public confidence.
The committee’s chairman David Were complained that on the face value, the results of the recruitment confirmed public fears that the process was skewed towards a particular candidate since the difference in points of the score between the first candidate and the other two varied by over 30 points.
“We are not disqualifying anybody who has succeeded but the system should be seen not to be shrouded in mysteries so that we don’t appear we had someone prepared for the seat,” he said.
“We do not see a crisis if the government could appoint somebody in an acting capacity then take three more months to conduct a smooth recruitment process.”
The recruitment started with controversy when outgoing Managing Director George Muhoho ignored the board and advertised the position without its approval. The board overturned the action and re-advertised the post. One hundred and fifty two candidates applied for the post after which eight were invited for interviews.
The board has already approved three nominees for the post and now await gazettment by the Transport Minister. The first candidate scored 91 points with the second garnering 66 points and the third 64 points.
“There are 10 board members and each of them did their own evaluations and those were the average results,” said Transport Permanent Secretary Cyrus Njiru while defending the process.
Mr Njiru fought hard to defend the recruitment saying it was transparent.
“I would wish that you allow this process to be concluded particularly now that internal investigations following the issues raised have revealed that enough candidates applied, short listing was done and interviews concluded,” he said.
Committee members wondered why the board’s advertisement gave applicants five days to apply saying this was restrictive.
“How do you expect my constituents in Wajir who are interested in this job, where there is no electricity or email to meet the deadline?” wondered Wajir North MP Mohammed Gabbow.
KAA board Chairman Martin Wambora and current Managing Director George Muhoho who were present in the committee’s proceedings also opposed demands to restart the process.
“I believe this committee has exercised its judgment and rightly so but I hope it will never be seen to succumb to unfair public opinion deliberately created for that purpose,” Mr Muhoho argued.
Mr Wambora said: “I can assure you Mr chairman that the resolution (sent) to the Minister was unanimous.”