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Saturday, 7 November 2020

Maritime DG appointment heading to court

 

The controversy over the appointment of Robert Njue as the Kenya Maritime Authority director general is headed for court.

More voices of discontent are emerging from the Coast region.

Njue was appointed by Transport CS James Macharia with effect from October 15 to replace George Nyamoko, who resigned in July.

Coast leaders called the appointment a case of ethnic bias.

They are now using a multi-pronged approach, including Parliament, the Judiciary and picketing to ensure Njue’s appointment is revoked.

On Friday, Kilifi Senator Stewart Mazdayo and his Mombasa counterpart Mohammed Faki said Njue’s appointment is unfair and pledged to ensure it is revoked through the courts.

The two joined growing voices of discontent saying there were more qualified people, especially from the Coast region who passed the interviews but were overlooked in favour of Njue.

“It is the Constitution that says regional balancing must be observed in appointments. We, the Coast people, did not write this Constitution. It is Kenyans who did.

“We talked about this matter in Parliament on Thursday and Wednesday. We are in the process of moving to court to ensure this appointment is quashed,” Senator Faki said.

Senator Madzayo said Njue’s appointment is a continuation of the oppression of the Coast people.

“It is an appointment that has tribal implications," Madzayo said.

On Wednesday, Faki called for a report from the Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare.

Deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar directed the committee to look into the matter.

Muslims for Human Rights on Tuesday demanded CS Macharia revoke Njue’s appointment, saying he did not meet the minimum qualifications for appointment as the KMA 's director general.

Muhuri chairman Khelef Khalifa gave the CS 21 days to revoke the appointment, otherwise, it will seek legal redress.

Khalifa said KMA had on August 11 placed an advert on its website and the MyGov publication, which is the government’s official advertising instrument, calling for applications.

Among the key personal requirements were knowledge and understanding of the maritime sector and at least 10 years’ work experience.

“Njue, whom you appointed as KMA’s DG, has no experience in the maritime sector, at least according to the credentials he presented during the application – and which are in our possession,” Khalifa wrote.

“Njue, instead, has majored inn conservation, a field that is completely unrelated to the maritime sector. Njue does not meet the minimum qualifications for appointment as director of KMA,” Khalifa said.

CHRJ executive director Julius Ogogoh.
RED FLAG: CHRJ executive director Julius Ogogoh.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

Umoja Summit Party of Kenya chairman Matano Chengo said Njue’s appointment entrenched the culture of the Coast region being shortchanged in state appointments.

“We have our own who has a master's degree in maritime affairs and has experience in government, having worked in government commissions. He was shortlisted.

“But because of the set-up in our government that excludes other people, we saw he was left out and someone from another region was picked,” Chengo said.

Commission for Human Rights and Justice executive director Julius Ogogoh on Tuesday told the Star the KMA board had conveniently left out more qualified people after the September 22 interviews  at the Kenya School of Government.

“There were more qualified people according to the interviews. People who actually had maritime experience and who better protected the devolution agenda,” Ogogoh said on the phone.

On October 28, Njue was among officials from KMA who faced the National Assembly Public Investments Committee chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir at English Point Marina.

They were questioned about the Auditor General’s report on their books of account for the year ending June 30, 2018.

The DG, who did not say much, listened to his staff struggling to convince the MPs they did not do anything wrong.

The authority has remained silent over the matter, referring journalists to Transport CS James Machari’s office for comment.

“KMA is not the appointing authority. The best placed person to speak to is the CS,” a senior KMA officer told the Star in confidence.

An email sent to the authority seeking comment was unanswered by press time.

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