Safaricom Sale Date Awaits New Privatisation Chief in Kenya

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The release of a timetable for the sale of a part of Safaricom is awaiting the appointment of a new chair to the privatisation commission, Treasury officials said. Plans to sell part of the government's shareholding in the mobile telephone company began late last year but have remained in limbo since the disputed outcome of the December 27 elections that threw Kenya into its worst political crisis since Independence.

There has been uncertainty over the management of the privatisation process which began before the commission was established amid protest from the opposition party Orange Democratic Movement. The commission assumed the mandate of managing privatisation of state enterprises on January 2 - a date determined by the Minister for Finance through a gazette notice.

Its operations have, however, been hamstrung by the lack of a chairperson to oversee its operations. Seven members of the commission - including its chairperson were picked last November last after protracted battle in and outside the courts. The process, however, suffered a major setback when the chairman designate John Bunyasi resigned to contest the Nambale parliamentary seat on a Narc ticket. He lost.

Sources say he has since been appointed to the board of KenGen.

The Business Daily has learnt that the commission is due to meet officials from Treasury's privatisation unit to draw a timetable for the Safaricom Initial Public Offering.

Business Daily