Communications Authority board must shape up or be disbanded

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NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY THE COVER! The feuding directors at CA look astonishingly great here

The revelations of a dysfunctional board at the Communications Authority (CA) are shocking and call for a quick and decisive intervention.

Contents of a conspicuously huge coverage by section of the print media point to a regulator suffering acute bad governance.

Sensational claims of a director soliciting for a bribe, sections of the board openly defending a licensee and further writing to the ICT Cabinet Secretary asking for a tribunal to sack a fellow board member is conduct unbecoming.

We are not defending Mr Wilbert Kipsang Choge’s alleged uncivilized character but all board members have same powers. Corporate governance does not envisage a situation in which some directors of a board can gang together to dismiss a colleague. It is akin to a Cabinet Secretary petitioning the President to sack a colleague.

Petitions of such nature can only be entertained if they are credible enough and come from outside the CA board.

It is unfortunate that the CA Director General Mr Francis Wangusi is acting and behaving as if he was a lawyer for Airtel. Objective decisions of an independent regulator must not be camouflaged and or casually varied for fear of litigation.

There is no way CA can fail to make an independent decision because they either fear and or feel the aggrieved party will have a “strong case” against such a decision. It is self defeating and raises ethical issues.

The more one reviews such a viewpoint, the more the “accused” director Mr Choge appears to be an “angel” of sorts.

Further, we are surprised that Airtel top executive even accepted a meeting at which the said director had solicited for a bribe. It is telling why and how Airtel chose to report to the media but not to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

CA directors must carry themselves with decorum. If a director does one wrong, another wrong of demanding dismissal of a colleague does not amount to a right.

CA directors are as good as Judges of the High Court. They must avoid unnecessary personal contact with their licensees. Such association may sustain the perception that CA directors are pocketed by sector operators.

ICT Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i has to demand that the board delivers for Kenyans. Wrangles and open bias on sensitive regulatory matters is not good for the country even as President Uhuru Kenyatta won an ICT award at the UN.

Dr Matiang’i has to ask the entire CA board to work together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools, by way of disbandment of the entire board on the basis of Chapter 6 provisions within the Constitution of Kenya.

We demand sobriety at CA. The ugly noises must stop. Directors must work as a team their differences of opinion notwithstanding.

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