Aviation workers have thrown their weight behind management shake up at the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) that led to the firing of managing director Alex Gitari.
Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) Secretary General Moss Ndiema said the power outage at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) last Friday was as a result of incompetence and mismanagement that has bedeviled the authority for the longest time.
Gitari and project and engineering services general manager Fred Odawo were sent packing on Saturday after the aerodrome was hit by the blackout which affected operations of the region’s busiest airport.
According to the union, many key equipment used at the airport to facilitate cargo and passenger movement such as x-ray machines have not been operational despite JKIA being a key regional hub.
“The problem with KAA has been incompetence, nothing else,” said Ndiema.
“KAA is not an organization that you would say is in the red financially. it is very solid. Why wouldn’t they service x-rays? There is no reason because they have the money,” he added.
Gitari had been in charge of the authority for close to four years both in acting and substantive capacity before termination of his contract.
Ndiema says the frequent mishaps at JKIA now threaten the status of the airport a move that could cost the country.
On Saturday, Murkomen attributed a series of mishaps at the airport due to management challenges and political interference which has led to “demoralized and disorganized workforce”.
“Indeed KAA staff are demotivated. Part of the reason is they have not enjoyed salary review through salary negotiations since 2016. We have gone to court and had court awards but we have a management in place that is acting with uttermost impunity,” said Ndiema.
KAWU has also accused the former managing director for improper transfer of at least 150 employees which Ndiema said was based on victimization.
“Transfer has been framed in the CBA that it should not be punitive. In this case it is being used to punish certain employees,” said Ndiema.
KAWU is now calling on the KAA management halt the looming transfer of employees to avoid victimization of employees.
During the shake up announced by Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, Kisumu International Airport manager Selina Gor was moved to JKIA while Abel Gogo who was previously at JKIA was moved to Mombasa International Airport.
Peter Wafula who was in charge of Mombasa International Airport moved to Kisumu.