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Ruto associate to chair KenGen as Jubilee fetes allies [Business Daily (Kenya)]
[January 05, 2014]

Ruto associate to chair KenGen as Jubilee fetes allies [Business Daily (Kenya)]

(Business Daily (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) An ally of Deputy President William Ruto has been appointed chairman of KenGen as the two coalition partners in Jubilee race to reward their support base with State jobs.

The State-owned power generator on Friday announced that Joshua Kibet Choge had replaced Titus Mbathi as head of its board of directors following his election to the board at the December 20 AGM.

Mr Choge, who previously served as an auditor at Portland Cement, is said to be close to the deputy president, a relationship that saw Mr Ruto appoint him to the board of the Agricultural Finance Corporation in 2009 when he served as Agriculture minister.

The appointment followed a boardroom shake-up at KenGen that also saw the exit of directors Musa Ndeto and Mary Michieka, deepening board changes that began with the retirement of CEO Eddy Njoroge.

The firm on Friday appointed two new directors, Ziporah Ndegwa and Millicent Omanga. Ms Omanga contested the Nairobi senatorial seat on the United Republican Party (URP) ticket — Mr Ruto's political vehicle.

The appointments came amid heightened debate on the recent appointments of 36 chairmen of State firms with scrutiny on the suitability of some candidates and their affiliations within the Jubilee coalition — made up of President Uhuru Kenyatta's TNA and Ruto's party.

KenGen is under the Energy ministry, which is manned by Mr Ruto's ally Davis Chirchir who is mandated to nominate directors to State-owned firms under his docket such as Kenya Power, Kenya Pipeline and Rural Electrification Authority.

"The board of directors of KenGen … appointed Mr Joshua Kibet Choge as the chairman of the company for a term of three years until he next comes up for retirement and election by rotation under the Articles of Association of the company," KenGen said in a statement.

Mr Choge holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Statistics, which qualifications go against recommendations of a presidential task force that called for chairmen of State corporations to hold at least a Masters degree.

The appointment of new officials at the Treasury and Energy ministry after the March 4 elections has also ushered in Henry Rotich, the Treasury Secretary, and Joseph Njoroge, the PS in the Energy ministry to KenGen's board. Mr Mbathi, 85, Mr Ndeto, 61 and Ms Michieka, 67, were some of the firm's longest serving directors.

Gender balance The board changes have also helped KenGen meet the constitutional requirement that no gender should occupy more than two-thirds of boardroom seats in State-owned companies or in firms where the government's ownership is more than 50 per cent.

KenGen had three women directors in its 11-member board or 27 per cent, but now has four or 36 per cent.

KenGen is yet to appoint its managing director more than six months after Mr Njoroge exited the firm, leaving Simon Ngure, the firm's head of regulatory affairs, to shepherd the power generator in an acting capacity.

The focus will now turn on KenGen's CEO position as Mr Chirchir continues to face pressure to appoint heads of five State-owned firms in his docket.

Besides KenGen, Kenya Power, Rural Electrification Authority (REA), Energy Regulatory Commission and Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) have in recent months been steered by interim CEOs after the exit of top officials.

READ: Energy parastatals set to wait longer for chief executives The choice of interim CEO's has generated debate because the posts are occupied by executives from home area of President Kenyatta and his deputy.

Mr Ngure and Ng'ang'a Munyu, who replaced Zachary Ayieko, have their roots in Central Kenya, the home turf of President Kenyatta.

The Rift Valley has benefited with the appointments of Ben Chumo and Charles Tanui as interim bosses of Kenya Power and Kenya Pipeline Company respectively.

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