, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 13 – The troubled East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) has a new chairman after President Mwai Kibaki announced the appointment of Isaac Mpapuluu ole Mapenay to replace Mark ole Karbolo.
In a special gazette notice, the Head of State said ole Mapenay will serve for a period of three years.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 6 (1) (a) of the State Corporations Act, I, Mwai Kibaki, President and Commander- in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, appoint Isaac Mpapuluu ole Mapenay (Dr) to be Chairman of the East African Portland Cement Company Limited, for a period of three (3) years.
“The appointment of Mr Mark Kitaanyu ole Karbolo is revoked,” the notice dated February 10 read.
The company has been in the news since December last year when acting Industrialisation Minister Amason Kingi suspended the entire board over allegations of mismanagement and malpractices.
The directors, who argued that the minister lacked powers to suspend them, however moved to court immediately seeking to have the decision rescinded.
What followed was a court battle that temporarily saw the government – which holds a combined stake of 52.3 percent – lose control over the running of the board’s affairs.
The over 1,300 workers also joined in the fray leading to the closure of the Athi River based factory for eight days which in turn led to a loss of roughly Sh400 million.
The workers were demanding particularly the removal of the ole Karbolo and his Managing Director Kephar Tande and vowed not to resume their duties until a new board was constituted.
Although the court intervened and ordered the factory re-opened, there has been a lot of animosity with the plant’s facility not operating optimally.
The appointment of ole Mapenay could however be a step in mending the strained relations between the board, management and the workers of the cement producer.
Further, it could be a pointer that the government has regained full control of the company’s affairs and as such its operations should normalise in a few weeks.
It remains to be seen whether Tande will pushed out and replaced with a ‘friendlier’ Managing Director that the workers approve of.