KMFRI’s Board of Management assured senior management and staff of its full support in achievement of the institute’s goals. Speaking during a familiarisation tour of Kisumu, Sang’oro and Kegati inland stations, BoM Chairman Hon John Safari Mumba said his board is hands-on, and has already taken full interest in all research activities being undertaken by the institute. He told employees that the board will strive to continually engage and interact with them in steering KMFRI in the right direction. The tour took place from 4th to 8th March, 2019, and was aimed at enhancing understanding of KMFRI research activities and identify issues that need its intervention.
Hon Mumba was accompanied by board members namely: Ms Nancy Kagau (PS representative), Dr Indeje Wanyama (Treasury representative), Mr Ali Mafimbo (member) and Ms Dorcas Mghoi (member). KMFRI Director/CEO Prof James Njiru, Deputy Director- Aquaculture Dr Jonathan Munguti, Deputy Director-Finance and Administration Mr Abraham Kagwima, among other senior officers took the board on a guided tour of the station’s facilities.
While urging employees to acquaint themselves with the contents of the Strategic Plan, the Chairman emphasised that research is an important component in the achievement of the Vision 2030 and therefore KMFRI’s research agenda should be relevant and aligned to the Blue Economy.
“The question we should ask ourselves is how we can merge Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda with the Strategic Plan,” he said.
Part of KMFRI’s mission is to achieve food security and nutrition, one of the pillars under the Big Four Agenda. “How KMFRI applies itself in the investments of the Blue Economy is key,” Hon Mumba said. “The institute should be a Centre of Excellence in all aspects. It is time KMFRI engaged society to create impact,” he said. “Dissemination of scientific information through the website and brochures is not enough.”
Prof Njiru said it is time KMFRI researchers focused on impact of their projects to the community, adding that information from research publications should benefit societies because they are main stakeholders. “Availability of feeds, fingerlings and technical support is key to the growth of aquaculture,” he spoke during BoM’s tour of Sang’oro station. The Director said through proper technology transfer, outreach programmes, resource mobilisation and capacity building, KMFRI stands to contribute significantly to the Blue Economy.
He said due to budgetary constraints, the government is not able to fund research activities fully, and urged scientists to seek funding from other agencies.
Ms Kagau commended station heads for the remarkable improvement in all centres. Commenting on fishing gears, she said there is need to upscale KMFRI innovations to avoid exportation of the same. She spoke in Kisumu after a tour of the centre’s museum where assorted fishing gears were displayed.
Ms Kagau added that BoM is committed to supporting the institute’s activities, but urged scientists to focus on demand-driven research with a keen eye on the Big Four Agenda and the Blue Economy. She said State Department of Fisheries is committed to drafting policies for the Blue Economy that will uplift the lives of ordinary Kenyan.
Dr Wanyama said KMFRI has the support of the Treasury and hence should be on the driving seat on matters research, urging the institute to leverage on available opportunities for growth.
Mr Mafimbo and Ms Mghoi told KMFRI employees that they can count on their full support and urged them to make use of board members in driving forward the agenda of the institute. Mr Mafimbo commended KMFRI for great teamwork and asked staff to work to their full potential.
Dr Munguti confirmed board’s commitment in taking KMFRI to the next level. Mr Kagwima thanked BoM for finding time to address the staff.
Kegati’s Dr Paul Orina, Kisumu’s Dr Chrispine Nyamweya and Sang’oro’s Dr Kevin Obiero acknowledged support from the management and expressed the need to modernise research facilities at their stations.
Staff warned against corruption
“It is not going to be business as usual. It is a bad season for corrupt individuals in Kenya. Corruption won’t pay,” that was the terse message KMFRI BoM Chairman Hon John Safari Mumba delivered to all the stations during the tour.
He said those implicated in corrupt deals will “have to carry their cross”. “Tribalism will not be tolerated under my watch,” said the Chairman. His sentiments were echoed by KMFRI Director Prof Njiru who said the corrupt will be ruthlessly dealt with.
Hon Mumba urged Heads of Departments and HR officers to come up with watertight procedures and processes of appointment and promotions devoid of discrimination.
Commenting on PC targets, the Chairman said performance is not negotiable and all employees must deliver. “Each staff will be evaluated individually,” he said. For his part, he said he’s committed to delivery of all the targets and expects cooperation from everyone, adding that BoM will also be evaluated based on KMFRI’s performance. He lauded the already developed Reward and Recognition Policy saying its implementation will help in awarding or rewarding best-performers, and sanction those pulling down the institute. Board members planted fruit trees at the stations.