When, on 31 May 2018, Daniel Manduku was moved from the helm of the National Construction Authority to Kenya Ports Authority as managing director in acting capacity, there was a mischievous manner of celebration by tenderpreneurs and their collides within and without KPA.
Reason behind this was they, in Manduku, a naive individual who had little capacity and little experience, with no courage at all to even attempt to have a go at their looting empire they considered untouchable.
They, cartels, immediately embarked on a scheme, which was two-pronged. The first strategy was to camouflage as well intentioned people who meant well and wanted him to succeed in the job. They even, directly and otherwise, paid homage and sent messages of ‘goodwill’ pledging their support for the engineer.
Their second strategy was kept in the freezer and would only become necessary if the man became difficult to deal with, where difficult here would mean not playing ball to their games.
Dr Manduku is indeed a good man and he did play ball but only if it was within the legal framework, give good value for money. What they did not know and appreciate is that his focus was to deliver for the Kenyan people.
While they schemed against him, he remained undistracted and for one to appreciate the man being fought by these unscrupulous cartels, let us highlight some of the notable performance indicators of his short term so far at the port.
Vibrant strategic direction for the port
Under his leadership, the port prepared and launched a strategic plan 2018-2022 through the input of KPA staff and within the same period, unveiled a 30-year master plan (2018-2047), with a strategic vision for all ports in Kenya.
The two documents, prepared through a participatory and consultative approach to incorporate views of industry stakeholders and partners, offer the strategic direction towards achievement of her vision of ‘World Class Ports of Choice’.
The master plan was launched by Cabinet Secretary for transport James Macharia. Contrary to suggestions that the MD works alone, this is just one of the confirmations that the two have an excellent working relationship.
Improvement in port volumes and profitability
While port cargo throughput increased from 30.7 million in 2017/2018 to 32.7 million in 2018/2019, representing a 6% growth, container traffic performed even better during the same period growing by 9%.
Transshipment numbers were extremely outstanding, recording a whopping 54% growth.
The profitability of the institution has grown from KSh10.6 billion in 2017/18 to an impressive KSh17.5 billion in 2018/19.
Improvement in project delivery and roll-out
During his tenure, the MD has been instrumental in overseeing the implementation of, including the construction of the first three berths at Lamu progressing from 50% in June 2018 to 70% in June 2019 and are now set for official opening in October 2020.
Construction of the Second Container Terminal has commenced and progressed works to 26% as at June 2019. The project is set for completion in December 2021 to provide additional port capacity of 450,000 TEUs and a total expanded port capacity of 2.1 million TEUs.
Relocation of Kipevu Oil Terminal through construction of a new modern oil Terminal with a handling capacity of 200,000 metric tons is already at 12.5%, the vision being that the facility will be able to handle four vessels at a go unlike the current facility which limits the handling capacity for petroleum products.
The new facility guarantees safety in handling of petroleum products and will also lead to reduction in waiting time for tanker vessels.
Construction of a modern cruise terminal has progressed from 30% in June 2018 to 70% in June 2019. The same is to be completed in a month’s time and will enhance cruise tourism in Kenya as well as provide the ambience in handling of passengers.
Development of small ports and inland waterways such as Shimoni Port and Kisumu lake port have been fast-tracked to promote local and regional trade. The feasibility study for Shimoni Port, to be developed as a fish port, was completed and approved, Kisumu Port is being rehabilitated to enhance trade within the East Africa Region.
The achievements have come against the backdrop of numerous challenges, including delays in remittance of funds from the exchequer, among others.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has been impressed with the progress of small ports under the leadership of Dr Manduku.
Integration of ICT systems
The Inland Container Depot, which started operations in January 2018, has realized tremendous growth through usage of ICT systems in operations. The automated gate system and the Operations Control Centre at the ICD have ensured smooth operations at the ICD which now records faster, efficient cargo evacuation.
Improvement in ship productivity and cargo evacuation
On average, this has improved from 29 moves in 2017/18 to 32 moves in 2018/19 as a result of enhanced equipment maintenance regimes and improved productivity.
The number of trains evacuating cargo by SGR has increased from 233 trains in June 2018 to 330 trains in June 2019. The amount of cargo through SGR has also increased to 200,579 TEUs in the period January-June 2019 from 75,387 TEUs in the same period previous year.
These are clear achievements that distinguish a man who has the best interests of his country and the issues of impropriety on his part is only a witch hunt by individuals whose looting spree has been curtailed by his work ethic.
A case in point is the directive to the procurement manager on specific mandatory checks that must be undertaken before any approval isn’t sought from his office.
The purported whistleblower is a manager who has been transferred in administrative changes approved by the board of directors which the MD only communicated to the staff through a memo dated 14 May 2019.
Mr Joseph Okako is yet to report to his new station as the principal officer Kisumu and one wonders why he is writing to the DCI now and not for the past year or earlier.
Question is would he have written this letter had he not been transferred as per the board decision?
The KPA MD, confirmed in this role in December 2018 on account of his performance in the six months he was acting, is being fought over the two non-priority tenders, namely construction of the tower at KSh7 billion and purchase of two ports at a cost of KSh1.7 billion.
He needs the protection of all Kenyans to save the KPA from capture by unscrupulous cartels.