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CCK boss sent on leave as row rages

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – The rift between the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) board and the management continues to widen with reports that the Director General Charles Njoroge has been sent on compulsory leave two months to the expiry of his contract.

The board’s chairman Philip Okundi however said the action taken was not personal but part of the responsibility of the board.

But as they let go of Mr Njoroge, there seems to be division even within the board itself after the representative of the Broadcasting Content Advisory Council Alex Gakuru said they were not consulted over whether to approve or reject the DG\’s application for another term.

Mr Gakuru added that his views were not sought when the board conducted an appraisal of Mr Njoroge who was said to have performed below par despite previous reviews stating the contrary.

Speaking to Capital Business, he questioned why the board was quick to fire the DG while Information Minister Samuel Poghisio had referred the matter to the State Corporation Advisory Committee (SCAC) for direction.

“Why are they behaving like a rebel board that does not follow what the minister says? He (the minister) is the appointing authority and has the final word and as the Broadcasting Content Advisory Council, we will wait for him to give the direction on this matter,” Mr Gakuru said.

Reports have been rife that Mr Poghisio had threatened to dissolve the board should a review from SCAC show that due process was not followed in evaluating the Director General’s performance and hence the hasty move by the Okundi-led team.

Information Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo has time and again refused to be drawn into the matter even though he sits on the board.

“That’s an issue for the (Information) minister and the Chairman of the CCK board to answer,” the PS who is currently out of the country said in a past interview.

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On his part, Mr Njoroge has maintained that his record at the helm of the regulatory body speaks for it itself.

The DG who has worked with the CCK for the last 12 years and who was appointed to head the regulatory body on July 21, 2008 said in a past interview that he has continued to carry out his mandate as required by law.

There has been speculation that the implementation of some regulations which have been termed by some telecommunications industry players as ‘oppressive’ is to blame for the predicament that Mr Njoroge finds himself in.

The implementation of the glide path for instance and which has seen call rates drop significantly in the last few months has been one of the sticking points that has pitted the DG against the telecoms and sometimes even against the government.

The DG’s response has however been that the implementation of these legislations aims to level the playing field and ensure that the consumer gets quality service at affordable rates.

“I don’t do this job for myself; I do it for Kenyans,” he said.

All eyes will now be on Mr Poghisio to see whether he will be swayed by the board’s decision or await the assessment from State Corporation Advisory Committee and make an independent verdict.

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