Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, on Sunday, August 27, announced a crackdown on unscrupulous businessmen operating within the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Murkomen responded to claims that the cartels disguise themselves as traders running duty-free shops at JKIA.
In a bid to enhance their sales, it was purported that the cartels manipulated the airport officials to select departure gates for planes. This unscrupulous strategy offers them an opportunity to strategically position themselves at the exits to exploit passengers.
“You have a point. We are draining the swamp. Watch this space,” Murkomen responded to the tip-off made by human rights activist Boniface Mwangi.
The entrance of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in August 2019.
Mwangi had further complained that JKIA was poorly designed, forcing travellers to disembark nearly three kilometres from their intended destination to undergo security checks.
He further lamented that the airport had a poor drainage system, forcing its users to wade through pools of water to access cabs.
The CS, however, did not respond to the grievance. Nonetheless, in other subsequent updates, he maintained that he had adopted a hands-on approach to cleaning his Transport docket.
“You don’t know me. I will deal with all the state departments and agencies under me professionally, and I do not care about your tribe, I want results,” Murkomen stated.
“I shall deal with cases of negligence, misappropriation, embezzlement, theft or other misconduct in relation to public resources summarily and decisively. You are hereby duly notified,” he added in response to allegations that his clean-up mission was a witch hunt to weed out officials who were appointed by the previous regime.
This accusation stemmed from Murkomen firing Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Managing Director Alex Gitari, replacing him with former Kenya Power insider, Henry Ogoye, who will serve in an acting capacity.
Gitari was released after his contract was mutually terminated following the power outage witnessed at JKIA on Friday night. Sections of the airport were thrown into darkness after a backup generator failed to power on.
The CS thus ordered to be restored at the facility, starting with commissioning the generators purchased merely two years ago. He also dismissed Fred Odawo from his position as General Manager of Project and Engineering Services, who was replaced by Samwel Mwochache.
On Saturday, moments after firing Gitari, Murkomen assured Kenyans that the position would be advertised and the interview panel would pick the most qualified candidate.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi signing a performance contract at State House, Nairobi on August 1, 2023.
“I challenge you to apply for the position of MD KAA when we advertise soon. If you convince the interview panel I will appoint you without hesitation,” Murkomen hit back at former Mukurweini MP, Kabando wa Kabando, who alleged that Gitari’s exit and replacement were pre-planned.
President William Ruto’s Cabinet Secretaries have been under pressure to deliver on their mandate after the Head of State warned them against relapse and laxity.
While signing performance contracts at State House, Nairobi, on August 1, 2023, CSs and Principal Secretaries were ordered to secure the President’s legacy and fulfil his campaign pledges.