Deep divisions continue to rock the Kenya Railway Corporation as integrity wars take center stage.
According to media reports, the state corporation’s powerful chairman Michael Waweru and acting Managing Director Philip Mainga are at loggerheads, with their staff taking sides.
Of contention is Mainga’s position at the now lucrative parastatal, with the group allied to Waweru opposing the extension of his contract.
Mainga, formerly the corporation’s business research general manager, was appointed to the position of MD in an acting capacity on August 17, 2018, replacing Atanas Maina, who was suspended.
This, therefore, means the officer has been in office for more than seven months, contrary to the Employment Act’s stipulation that one has to act for six months before the position is advertised for competitive recruitment.
Those opposed to the extension are questioning his continued occupation of the office in acting capacity.
Waweru, who is accused of sexually abusing his junior staff, is now facing a tough time ahead after his opponents vowed to sponsor activist Okiya Omtatah to move to court on their behalf if Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia failed to allow the institution’s board to recruit a substantive MD through a competitive process.
Reports indicate that the CS is Mainga’s godfather and that might be the reason he’s still in office.
Even as the team works on the legal process to remove Mainga from office, a plot is underway to oust him on matters integrity.
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One of the employees, who claims the MD has been sexually assaulting her, has reportedly forwarded her complaint to KRC board to discuss Mainga’s character.
Mainga is accused of dumping the woman, after promising her a job at the Standard Gauge Railway department, only to dump her for another woman currently working at the same department.
Sources familiar with the matter told the Citizen Weekly that the woman has already sworn affidavits for the dossier. In her possession is a video and photos taken during the alleged assault at get-together meetings in Mombasa. Also in her possession are text messages the man has been sending her.
Other allegations the anti-Mainga group intends to use against him include among other things abuse of officer and corruption in the compensation of SGR acquired land from Nairobi to Naivasha.
Another aggrieved member of staff has written to the board outlining Mainga’s involvement in employment malpractices. He raises concern over the accused’s dealings with the Chinese firm involved in the construction of SGR and its operations.
Prior to former MD’s sacking, KRC demoted all senior managers in early March 2017. This affected several departments including Finance, ICT, Security, Procurement, Business Development, Risk and Audit, Legal and Corporate Affairs departments, leaving the holders of the positions dejected.
Sources say the KRC board was deeply involved in the management changes, with many largely attributing the demotions to favoritism and nepotism.
Notable board members said to be behind the shameful shake off are Chairman Waweru, Transport PS Esther Koimett, National Treasury Ps Kamau Thugge and kenya Aiports Authority MD Daniel Manduku and Mainga.
Others are Hellen Karu, Kimathi Maingi, Lelgo Kibyegon, Christopher Mumo, Rahab Nyaga, John Cherongony, and Hellen Mungania.
Mungania, currently Corporation Secretary in the SGR compensations department, is said to have leaked confidential documents to scuttle a number of recent business engagements by KRC, one involves granting of Mombasa Ali Hassan Joho, a contract to transport bulk cargo to Nairobi inland depot, given to KRC on 55-year-lease.
Waweru reportedly has a close relationship with Joho’s family from his days at the helm of KRA. The family has an interest container freight stations.
The chairman also has his share of his miseries, with KRC legal adviser Mungania linking him to the allocation of 20 acres of land to Joho’s Container Freight Stations (CFS). Mungania says Opposition Chief Raila Odinga, after the March 9 2019 handshake, talked to President Uhuru Kenyatta, who lately relates well with Joho, to give the deal a green-light.
Waweru is also accused of conflict of interest, following his role as chairman at Zamara ltd, a company in charge of KRC’s pension scheme.
Meanwhile, Mainga is reportedly lobbying the board and the human resource department to have his six-month period extended to have to allow the board to recruit, likely by the end of the year.
With the board deeply divided, and the two leaders’ integrity put to test, it’ll be interesting to watch what unfolds next.