A Coast region Community Based Organisation has protested against the sacking of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director, Ms. Catherine Mturi.
Tahireni, a Mijikenda community organisation complained that by sending Ms. Mturi on compulsory leave was in bad faith since the MD had no records of corruption in her life time at KPA.
Gerald Thoya, who is the chairman of the Organisation pointed out that sacking the MD was unlawful.
Thoya added that Ms. Mturi was at the forefront in fighting corruption.
Speaking at Malindi District Cultural Centre on Monday, Thoya said Mturi was targeted because of her fight against graft and that she had been holding a Sh36 billion contract that looters were salivating for.
Mr. Thoya further claimed that the acting MD Mr. Daniel Manduku, is incompetent since he failed to restore unity in the National Construction Authority.
The deputy chair of the Organisation, Peter Ponda said Mturi’s sacking was targeting the Mijikenda community in the Coast region.
Ponda appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to disband the Board of Directors that was involved in dismissing Mturi because the Board’s term in office had expired and it had no authority to send Mturi on compulsory leave.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed Acting MD, Dr. Daniel Manduku has defended his appointment saying he is “highly qualified” for the job.
The new acting MD has promised to work with professionals in the maritime industry to make the port attractive to business and boost the economy.
Dr. Manduku dismissed calls by a section of coast leaders that he is an ‘outsider’ saying he is a Kenyan who deserves to be given a chance to improve efficiency at the port that serves Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
A section of Coast politicians led by Kilifi North MP, Owen Baya urged the government to appoint a local and defended Mturi who was sent on compulsory leave last week over failure to curb congestion at the port.
Mturi is a finance professional who has served in various roles over the past 23 years at the port including being general finance manager.
Last week KPA board announced changes at the helm of the organization replacing Mturi with Manduku who is also the National Construction Authority Chief Executive Officer.
Dr. Manduku will serve in an acting capacity for two months pending the board’s further direction.
He said he comes into his new role with years of experience in professional and senior level management positions in the corporate world.
The Transport Principal Secretary (PS) Prof. Paul Maringa said the new MD had been properly briefed on his assignment.
“We have given the new MD a clear command structure of all agencies working at the Port. We expect collaboration from all the agencies involved in driving efficient services at the Port,” said the PS.
The PS added that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) had also been set to ensure smooth evacuation of cargo by both the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and trucks.
Prof. Maringa observed that since the Port of Mombasa receives at least 1900 containers daily with the five freight cargo trains ferrying 540 boxes to Nairobi, the rest must be released to Container Freight Stations (CFSs) immediately.
By James Mwalimu/Simon Guruba