Engineer Nahashon Muguna (inset), former long serving Technical Director, will now serve as substantive boss of the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) after the board named him to the position in which he has been acting since August 2017.

But even as NCWSC hopes to resume normal water supply during the first week of June, a month after its' main reservoir developed technical challenges, leadership crisis is far from over.

On May 5, 2020 Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) wrote to NCWSC Chairperson Ms Beryl Odinga (pictured) asking that the recruitment process for NCWSC managing director be suspended. It is not clear why the board seemed to ignore the diplomatic but firm directive.

Ms Odinga, a sister to the doyen of opposition politics Raila Odinga, became chairperson after the short-lived stint of then board Chairman Leonard Munyao. It is not clear how he left the plum position after less than 2 months. 

"Please note NMS which is now undertaking the transferred functions that include water and sanitation is a key stakeholder in the process. However, as you are aware, NMS is currently setting up relevant structures and hence you are requested to suspend the recruitment process. Kindly note and action accordingly', wrote Major General Mohammed Abdalla Badi, a man with a presidential honour of an Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS).

We could not independently verify whether Mr Badi had lifted the moratorium on the recruitment by the time NCWSC board members congregated, Wednesday morning, at the utility firm's headquarters and later confirmed Nahashon Muguna as substantive managing director.

It is doubtful the 'structures' would have been completed in 22 days since he authored the letter. Under the transfer of Nairobi County functions to National Government deed, Maj Gen Badi has the last word on the operations of NCWSC. He can veto the board in the manner the Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko would.

Mr Muguna has a long history with NCWSC technical department having rose through ranks to have headed the firm in an acting capacity. Even those who faulted the process did not fault his credentials and experience. 

Sources who spoke to Cofek faulted the process of recruitment alleging that it had 'long been compromised' by the outsourced agent.

It is alleged Career Connections Ltd was hired by the same management to oversee the recruitment by the same acting boss who reportedly never took leave to allow for independence of the due process.

It appears, from the allegations leveled against the process, that the board either fully delegated its role to the outsourced agency or had less than passion to own the process.

Our sources added that at one time the process got the attention of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) after several complaints were made.

Aggrieved parties who spoke to Cofek on the strict demand for anonymity lest they prejudice their future chances claimed that Career Connections Ltd shortlisted the incumbent against very weak candidates especially the insiders who were 'coordinators' (not even managers) in complete disregard of the high level requirements that had been placed in the vacancy announcement.

One of the candidates who had faulted the process, Eng Daniel Ng'ang'a sued NCWSC, Career Connections Ltd. He named the County Government of Nairobi, Water Services Regulatory Board, Attorney General and Nahashon Muguna as interested parties.

But on May 1, 2020 Eng Daniel Ng'ang'a withdrew the Employment and Labour Relations Court petition number 64 of 2020.

His lawyer Kiroko Ndegwa on May 1, 2020 wrote to Ms Odinga saying the petitioner "intends to by consent of the parties withdraw the suit against both the respondents so as to pave way for fresh recruitment of the MD of (NCWSC). Kindly let us seize this opportunity to strengthen the corporate governance and resolve the underlying issues that gave birth to the petition"

The petitioner did not void his sworn affidavit in the same case meaning any other aggrieved person would apply his grounds as evidence in Court.

It is not clear whether the petitioner's demand for 'fresh recruitment' meant re-advertisement and use of a different recruitment consultancy.

Sources further claim that part of the deal that saw the petitioner drop the case was an alleged promise that he would replace Eng Muguna as the substantive Technical Director. 

Other than Beryl Odinga, other NCWSC independent board members include former Capital FM editor Michael Mumo, Timothy Muriuki, Mohammed Abdulahi and Martin Mbicire.

It is not clear the NCWSC board complied with the directive by EACC boss Twalib Mbarak to State Corporations Advisory Committee on April 9, 2020 which required all public bodies to secure clearance before employing senior staff at public bodies. 

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