President Uhuru Kenyatta has made far-reaching changes in the parastatal sector, naming more than 350 appointees as he seeks to stamp his authority on the crucial sector at the mid-point of his first term in office.
The list of board members seen by the Sunday Nation features numerous new names, including a notably younger profile of officials, but several political nominees are among those tipped to offer strategic direction to state bodies.
The publication of the names of new board members follows lengthy deliberations within the government as the Jubilee administration effectively weeds out numerous appointees of the Kibaki-Odinga grand coalition whose performance was not seen as matching the objectives of the Jubilee government.
Among key parastatals where Mr Kenyatta has introduced changes are the Kenya Airports Authority and the Kenya Railway Corporation.
Big names in the corporate sector are among those who have been asked to join the Vision 2030 Delivery Board, which will be tasked with playing a more prominent advisory role to the Presidency.
Kenya Commercial Bank chief executive Joshua Oigara joins Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore on the board where they will serve alongside Juliana Rotich, the youthful technologist best known for her role in the Ushahidi open source software development programme.
Others on the board include former ambassador Dennis Awori and General Motors chief executive Rita Kavashe.
The new changes will also see several parastatals being restructured or having their goals redefined.
An insider familiar with the process leading up to the formulation of the list said the Betting Control and Licensing Board had been asked to expand its role and, along the UK model, tap the growing resources in the betting sector to finance national sports teams.
The explosion in interest in gambling and especially rising spending on sports betting has resulted in the growth of the sector into a multi-billion-shilling enterprise.
Among those picked to the board are Chase Bank executive Paul Njaga and billionaire Chris Kirubi’s daughter Maryanne Kirubi Musangi, who is also a banker.
Other eye-catching changes have been made at the Kenya Airports Authority where HR consultant Susan Kiama, the IT expert Isaac Newton Onyango and lawyer Jacqueline Oyuyo have been picked as the President seeks to consolidate his oversight over the airport authority, where a number of major projects are ongoing to tackle stiff competition from Addis Ababa and an emerging hub in Kigali, Rwanda.
Mr Thomas Nzioki Kibua, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, has been named to the Capital Markets Authority board.
Politicians also feature on the list. Among those who have been rewarded are former MPs Bifwoli Wakoli (Kenya Water Towers Agency), Wycliffe Osundwa (Kenya Institute of Mass Communication), Simon Mbugua (NGO Coordination Board) and Dickson Wathika (Athi Water Services Board). The widow of former assistant minister Orwa Ojode, Mary Okeyo-Ojode, has been named to the Lake Basin Development Authority Act board.
Among those named to the board of the Kenya Railways Corporation are former ambassador John Mutinda Mutiso.
The insider, who took part in the drafting of the list, said the compilation followed long deliberations between President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
Other than academic qualifications and experience, other factors considered included gender, ethnicity and special interest groups.
A number of people with disabilities were named to the boards.
The source said the Jubilee administration had struggled to impose its agenda on many arms of government due to the fact that numerous state appointees were named in the dying weeks and months of the grand coalition and that the latest nominations, which follow an earlier set named in March, were designed to cure that.
The President was also engaging in an effort to handle the many “governance and corruption” issues, which had been raised by the public, media and various state organs.
The source said that with the new changes, the Presidency will take a keener interest in the performance of parastatals although they directly fall under parent ministries.
It is expected that board chairmen will be named in the next few weeks, although that list is understood to be dominated by political appointees to a larger extent than the latest names, which are contained in a special Gazette notice dated October 2.
Journalists and athletes are among those who have been given the role of marketing Kenya as part of the new changes.
Royal Media Services chief executive Wachira Waruru has been appointed to the board of the Kenya Cultural Centre alongside thespian Ted Muthusi, East African Breweries executive Eric Kiniti and a longtime supporter of the theatre Millicent Ogutu.
Citizen television anchor Julie Gichuru and well known athlete Paul Tergat will both serve on the Brand Kenya board of directors.
Mr Tergat has also been named to the Board of Tourism Finance Corporation.
Prominent radio personality and commentator Caroline Mutoko and Citizen TV’s Farida Karoney will serve on the board of the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.
The latest appointments are expected to be the first in a raft of changes expected throughout the government in the months to come although no timelines were available for the release of the new names.
He are some of other appointees;
The Local Authorities Provident Fund;
Yunis Omar Mohammed
Captain Obo Ruweida
THE Kenya Airports Authority;
Those appointed are Jacqueline Oyuyo and Isaack Newton Onyango.
Athi Water Services Board;
Billy Arocho Otunga
Francis Kariuki Muheria
Ann Wanjiru Munga
The National Oil Corporation of Kenya Limited
Peter Ngala Ekuleu
Tom Maina Macharia
While appointing, the President is said to have considered academic qualifications while gender, ethnicity were also a factor.