Report filed from the Constance Ephelia Resort, Port Glaud, Mahe
Events in recent days overtook each other and developments came in thick and fast about the saga of the Greenfield Project, which is set to make or break the future of Kenyas aviation sector and will have huge consequences for national airline Kenya Airways.
The building of a second runway at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, by common consensus long overdue, and the construction of another dedicated new terminal facility, which according to projections will be overwhelmingly used by Kenya Airways and the airlines international Sky Team partners and airlines they will code share with on certain route. The 55 billion Kenya Shilling project had run into stormy waters, when Transport Minister Amos Kimunya in January demanded the tender award of 16th December 2011 to be cancelled, inspite of the Attorney Generals legal opinion that such a move could cost Kenya huge in compensation as there was no legal basis for the move other than the ministers personal opinion. The tender award, scrutinized by the countrys procurement oversight watchdog agency, was cleared and had been duly sanctioned on several levels but information now coming to light speaks of a million dollar bribe to intervene on behalf of a failed bidder, which by the looks of it missed the deadline of document submission by a crucial half hour, perhaps fallen victim to Nairobis notorious traffic jams or else having their watches wrongly set.
In a tit for tat wrangle did the board of KAA then attempt do the ministers dirty work, who had failed to bully Gichuku out of office, and attempted to suspend the KAA CEO Stephen Gichuki. He however was no walkover and not only challenged this blatant attempt to remove him from office on procedural grounds but in addition obtained a court order to resume his duties, only to find his offices padlocked upon his return.
It is now an open secret in the political corridors of Nairobi, that the controversial minister, at the centre of yet another major dispute, will very likely not survive in office as parliament is reportedly preparing to censor him and have him once again kicked out of the cabinet. Should that happen his stooges on the board of the KAA, who locked horns with the CEO on their masters behalf, will also stare at an uncertain future, as they will either have to eat humble pie galore or else succumb to pressure and quit if not be fired for the role they were playing in this murky saga.
The case of the KAA management was in fact further strengthened when the procurement appeals board earlier this week once again cleared the contracts entered into between the KAA and the main contractors from China, in fact ordering KAA to proceed without further delay, but one thing seems certain in this longstanding saga, that there will be another twist in the tail and another fork in the road ahead. Watch this space.