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NACADA Chairman, CEO entangled in power wrangles

13 July 2015, 15:40 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – It has emerged that the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) ineffectiveness in the fight against drug and substance abuse is caused by infighting between the Authority's top brass.

It became evident that NACADA board and its entire management was divided as a result of personal differences between the Authority’s chairman, John Mututho and his CEO, William Okedi when the two officials openly confronted each other before a parliamentary committee.

Okedi told the National Assembly Administration and National Security committee chaired by Tiaty MP, Asman Kamama that Mututho was interfering with his roles and singly making decisions without the board’s approval as required by the law.

“There is interference in management roles at NACADA due to power struggle since the chairman joined the Authority in September 2013. The CEO and the chairman are competitors in Executive position and the chairman is not only dividing workers but also the board,” claimed Okedi.

Read Also: Mututho says KEBS is frustrating his war on illicit brews

Okedi added that Mututho has on several occasions overstepped his mandate and that of the board by suspending him, in addition to tarnishing his name.

“I have suffered two suspensions from the chairman. He has gone out to assassinate my character and written to banks not to honor my signatures as the NACADA CEO,” said Okedi.

Okedi pleaded with the Kamama-led committee to push for review of NACADA’s management laws to limit wrangles between the CEO and his chairman.

The CEO for instance said Mututho took advantage of his interdiction period to engage in irregular procurement practices such as awarding of media funding tenders worth over KES 67.8 million and KES 47 million to Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) for its drug abuse campaigns without consulting the management and the board.

A section of NACADA board members present in the committee also defended Okedi accusing Mututho of being the mastermind of power struggles at the authority.

“There is power struggle at NACADA and someone wants to be in control of the Authority’s money. The chairman has even put in writing he wants to be an executive Chair,” revealed NACADA vice chair, Gladys Nasieku.

Mututho in his response said: "It is absolutely wrong to say all is well at NACADA."

He noted that the government itself had failed to implement the enacted Mututho Laws in the fight against drug and substance abuse in the country.

For example, he pointed out that the Authority has been unable to deal with killer illicit brews in the country because there is no enforcement wing at NACADA as proposed in the Mututho laws.

“It is unfortunate that I have never received my letter of appointment since I joined NACADA. No single enforcement officer has been hired and I have to diginto my pocket in performing the authority’s functions because I only receive KES 62 000 net salary,” said Mututho.

Regarding the CEO’s accusations of interfering with his mandate and engaging in unlawful procurement by sidelining the management and board, Mututho said his decisions were based on urgency and presidential directives.

“The KES 47 million tender award to KBC was an emergency matter due to its monopoly in viewership during the 2014 world cup matches. The CEO should tell this committee how he paid himself KES 3.7 million without the board’s approval,” claimed Mututho.

Read Also: Jaguar 'happy' at NACADA

Mututho said he was considered interfering with Okedi’s roles by demanding an inquiry into various owners of alcoholic premises and their legality in operation across the country following alarming deaths of people consuming illicit brews.

Two newly appointed NACADA board members, Charles Kanyi alias Jaguar and Juma Ngao threw their support behind Mututho's proposed total disbandment of the management and board for proper reconstitution in order for the authority to realize immense progress.

The two members also said officials implicated in the NACADA’s alleged loss of KES 99 million to non-existent NGOs should step aside to allow for investigations.

However, the MPs differed with the proposal to disband the authority, with some observing that there should be infighting ceasefire for power between the CEO and chairman, while others maintained that it should be disbanded because conflicts between the two officials was beyond reach.

“NACADA is ailing due to ongoing infighting and it cannot prevent drug abuse among Kenyans. It is high time the board and management were disbanded because many Kenyans are dying,” said Wajir West MP, Abdikadir Ore.

The NACADA officials maintained the the authority has not failed Kenyans in the fight against drug and substance abuse  and instead blamed the government for failure to empower it.

For example, Mututho said the authority’s name should be changed from National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse to National Authority for Control against Alcohol and Drug Abuse to ensure it has total control authority since its campaign mandate has yielded tremendous success.

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