Deep-seated intrigues into the pick of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) boss continued straight into the third week, after NEMA board concluded interviews, following credible reports pointing to a dilemma around Environment Secretary Keriako Tobiko.
The former Director of Public Prosecutions, and the bully know-it-all CS with the notoriety of highest turnover of Principal Secretaries, is said to be buying time so he can name the preferred candidate Mamo B. Mamo.
Mr. Tobiko is torn between agreeing with the NEMA board over the best-rated candidate on one hand and the choice of his cabinet colleague on the other – with all benefits that come with it.
Mr Mamo is related to the National Treasury Secretary Ukur Yattani who has been reportedly lobbying for the man whose internal promotion has raised eyebrows – having, without papers and matching experience, jumped from Grade E6 to E3, then made to jump E2 to acting in E1 grade as director-general.
Mamo was initially ranked a poor fifth position after the board interviews concluded on March 4. We published the poll rankings here.
But credible sources point to a day when the restless CS Tobiko summoned the entire NEMA board of directors who arrived at his NHIF House office late – with an A4-size envelope containing the names of the three top shortlisted candidates – only for the board members to be ordered to ensure that they included the name of Mr Mamo among the top three candidates or risk immediate sacking.
Our sources say the board members returned with the envelope unopened – after a meeting that lasted no more than 5 minutes.
As fate would have it, the name of a Dr Ondimu was dropped. Mr Mamo’s name was included and then the new list handed directly to Mr Tobiko by NEMA chairman John Konchellah.
But that is not all. Mamo is said to have forged the Strategic Leadership Development Program (SLDP) certificate which was a key requirement in the advertisement for the NEMA boss position.
In unparalleled lobbying, the Chairman of Public Service Commission (PSC) Stephen Kirogo caused anxiety in the entire public service corridors after he wrote a letter to all Government agencies on March 11 waiving the requirement of SLDP certification for promotions.
“It could not have come by coincidence. It was by design to save Mamo. What they forgot is that the law cannot be applied retroactively. Again, and on a more serious note, Mamo engaged in a criminal act of forging a government document.
“This, together with the integrity case against him by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission are enough to stop this man from being considered. If he is picked, the case will be the same as the Kenya Bureau of Standards. He will not last. It is counterproductive to pick him regardless of the inducement the CS may have been given”, said a source familiar to the behind-the-scene intrigues.
“He wants to take advantage of the corona virus confusion to gazette Mamo. He said that anyone can challenge him in court if they chose to”, according to another source speaking on a strict demand for anonymity considering the sensitivity of the matter.
NEMA’s visibility has been on a downward trend largely because of poor leadership and low funding.
It remains to be seen whether Tobiko, whose own job is hanging on a thin line, will pick the best candidate as rated by the NEMA board or would rather appease his own colleague and pick the fifth-rated candidate.
The NEMA Establishment
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) was established under the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act No. 8 of 1999 (EMCA) as the principal instrument of Government for the implementation of all policies relating to the environment.
EMCA 1999 was enacted against a backdrop of 78 sectoral laws dealing with various components of the environment, the deteriorating state of Kenya’s environment, as well as increasing social and economic inequalities, the combined effect of which negatively impacted on the environment.
The supreme objective underlying the enactment of EMCA 1999 was to bring harmony in the management of the country’s environment.