- Dock Workers Union Secretary General Simon Sang welcomed Ruto's appointment describing it as the "biggest relief for Kenya Ports Authority workers."
- Ruto, who has worked at KPA for 32 years after joining in 1991 as a Cadet Marine Deck Officer before rising through the ranks to be a General Manager, Operations and later a Harbour Master.
After attempting to apply for the coveted position of Kenya Ports Authority managing director several times, Captain William Ruto on Friday was finally named the new substantive boss of the parastatal.
Ruto, who has worked at KPA for 32 years after joining in 1991 as a Cadet Marine Deck Officer, before rising through the ranks to be a General Manager, Operations and later a Harbour Master.
Until this appointment, he was the General Manager of the Kisumu Port for two years, having been appointed in 2021.
Speaking to the Star, Dock Workers Union Secretary General Simon Sang welcomed Ruto's appointment describing it as the "biggest relief for Kenya Ports Authority workers."
Sang said they are optimistic that they will witness changes at the port.
"He (Captain Ruto) was the general manager operations, and he streamlined the activities at the port. When he left for Kisumu, we witnessed chaos in the operations department and his appointment is now a relief to the workers," said Sang.
He said DWU has over 20 cases in court against KPA management, but they are hopeful all these cases will be resolved as soon as possible.
"We are hoping now all issues will be sorted without going to court," said Sang
Ruto, a holder of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Strategic Management degree from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), beat 11 other individuals during the two-day interview held at Boma Hotel in Nairobi on Wednesday and Thursday.
Three KPA senior managers; Ruto, Sudi Amani Mwasinago (General Manager of Operations), and Engineer Vincent Sidai (General Manager of Lamu Port) were among those who had been shortlisted.
Mwasinago, a seasoned port professional with over 25 years in logistics and maritime industry experience, joined KPA in 1995 from Kenya Commercial Bank.
Engineer Sidai was General Manager of Infrastructure at Port of Mombasa before he was also transferred to head Lamu Port last year.
Others who made it to the list included Stanley Chai, Dennis Lewa, Halima Ali Omar, Alex Kazongo, Dr Jane Chepkorir Barus, Rachel Balu Musyoki, Modest Kitimo Kombo, and Nicodemus Odera Odongo.
On Friday, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said the KPA board received 75 applications, after announcing the vacancy on December 23 last year.
The deadline for the application for the position of MD was on January 19.
“After a rigorous and intensive recruitment process, the Board of Directors has submitted a report and recommendation to my office for the appointment of Captain William Kipkemboi Ruto, having attained the highest aggregate score from the interview process,” said Murkomen.
The position of MD at KPA had been vacant for the last three years since the resignation of Dr Daniel Manduku on March 26, 2020 over graft allegations.
During this period, to ensure the continuity of KPA’s businesses, the board made several appointments to the position in an acting capacity, said Murkomen.
Since Manduku’s resignation, KPA has had two acting managing directors; Engineer Rashid Salim (2020-2021) and Ambassador John Mwangemi.
Ruto now takes over from Mwangemi who has been serving in an acting capacity since January 2021.
“Pursuant to and in accordance with the powers conferred to me under Section 5 (1) of the Kenya Ports Authority, Cap 391, and further in consultation with the Board of Directors, I have this morning appointed Captain William Kipkemboi Ruto as the Managing Director of the Kenya Ports Authority for a period of three (3) years effective immediately,” said Murkomen.
According to Ruto’s Curriculum Vitae, he is an associate fellow of the Nautical Institute (AF-NI) and a member of the International Harbour Master’s Association (UK), and has attained the highest qualification as a Ship Captain (Class 1 Master Mariner) from South Tyneside Marine College, UK.
“It is my belief that his wealth of experience spanning 32 years will be instrumental in ensuring the Authority delivers on its mandate to the people of Kenya and continues to contribute towards the growth of the Kenyan economy,” said Murkomen.
After Manduku’s ouster, the former KPA board, under chairmanship of General (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana advertised for the position in April 2020, but the interviews had to be suspended after the outbreak of Covid-19.
In February 2021, the board conducted interviews for six persons out of the over 150 who were said to have applied, however, the former National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani rejected the names of those who had been shortlisted.
General Kibwana’s team interviewed six candidates and submitted three names to Yatani, from which he was to pick one for the job.
However, Yatani wrote back to Kibwana saying the shortlisted candidates had failed to meet the required threshold of 70 per cent to be appointed to the lucrative position.
He subsequently directed the KPA board to undertake a fresh recruitment of the MD and conclude the exercise within 45 days from the date of his letter dated March 2, 2021.
The people who had been shortlisted then were Sylvester Kasuku, who was the former Chief Executive Officer of Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) project, former Principal Secretary at Ministry of Gender Mwanamaka Mabruki and Murshid Rashid, a maritime expert.
Mabruki and Rashid are said to have tied at 67 per cent, whereas Kasuku came in third with 63 per cent.
Since then, there have been two other attempts to recruit a substantive KPA boss, but the process failed to be concluded.