Boardroom wars at the Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency (CRVWWDA) are threatening to derail activities at the giant water firm.
At the centre of the storm is the renewal of the Chief Executive Officer Hosea Wendot’s tenure. In a special board meeting on Friday, which insiders say was marred by external interference and intimidation, Eng Wendot’s tenure was ended without considering his performance in the last three years.
The Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency chairman Ambassador Bonface Muhia, in a letter sent to the CEO, on Friday night, said the board had declined to renew his request for a second term.
“I refer to your letter dated October 30, 2020, addressed to the immediate past chairman of the board Brg (Rtd) Stephen Njunge Kihu, requesting for the renewal of your contract. I would like to confirm that the same was considered and deliberated on during a special board meeting, held on April 30, 2021. I regret to inform you that the request was declined,” reads the letter.
However, some of the board directors say they are willing to renew Mr Wendot’s term, after he scored highly during a performance evaluation of his contractual term.
“He scored more than 81 per cent during the performance evaluation exercise and many of the board members were of the opinion that his term should be extended,” an insider told the Nation.
The Nation has learnt that the boardroom wars, that have now lasted more than two months, have also sucked in some senior Ministry of Water & Sanitation and Irrigation officials.
So bad is the in-fighting, that it has already claimed two board directors. The two, Francisca Kamuren and Johnson Mwamba Kinyanjui were shown the door by Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
The special gazette notice was dated Friday April 9, 2021, yet by Wednesday the following week; the two were yet to be officially notified about their sacking.
In an exclusive interview with the Nation, Mr Kinyanjui on Sunday revealed that he was sacked to pave way for the removal of Eng. Wendot.
“Before we were sacked, we had evaluated Eng. Wendot and found him suitable to serve a second three-year term. However, we were hounded out of office, because we openly supported the renewal of Eng Wendot’s contract,” Mr Kinyanjui told Nation.
The immediate former director, who was representing Nyandarua County, revealed that some powerful forces from the Ministry of Water were keen to replace Eng Wendot.
“There are so many forces in the water agency that want CEO Wendot out. We were the first casualties because we supported him. Eng Wendot applied for renewal of his term in November last year, but the forces have been plotting on how to kick him out,” added Mr Kinyanjui.
Mr Mathenge Ndiritu, one of the board directors, said he was among those keen on extending the CEO’s term in office due to his performance.
“He did well and I was among those who supported the extension of his contract. We were unable to have a special sitting which could have given the CEO a new term,” said the former Gilgil MP.
He admitted that the last Friday exercise was marred “by eternal interference,” citing the sacking of the two former directors, as well as an orchestrated plan to deny Eng Wendot a new term, despite his good performance. On Sunday, it emerged that most employees in the water agency were disgruntled.
“We are not happy with the manner in which some powerful officials want to micromanage the Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency. It will not be business as usual, we will protest the move by the board,” said an employee who sought anonymity for fear of reprisal.
The Nation also established that there was an earlier bid to disband the entire board in January this year, after a resident of Baringo filed a suit at the Kabarnet Law Courts.
The petitioner Laban Rotich sued the board, the Ministry of Water, the board, and the CEO. The case is pending at the court.
The boardroom wrangles now threaten to jolt the water agency and derail key projects being undertaken in the region. The water agency covers Nakuru, Baringo, Narok, Laikipia and Nyandarua counties.