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KECOBO’s Edward Sigei to leave office after a tumultuous 9 years at the helm

Kenya Copyrights Board (KECOBO) executive director Edward Sigei has gone on terminal leave as recruitment for his successor gets underway.

After nine years at the helm of KECOBO, Mr Sigei’s tenure will officially end on June 30 when the position becomes vacant.

KECOBO’s Board of Directors is currently reviewing 21 applications received after the closing date for applications on May 25, 2024, with a view to shortlisting them before interviews commence in the middle of next month.

“The advertisement for the position attracted considerable interest with a total of 21 applications received. Of the 21 applications, four were from female candidates and 17 were from male candidates… It is expected that a substantive CEO will be recruited before the end of June 2024 to ensure a smooth transition,” reads part of a statement seen by Showbuzz.

The board says it has approved Mr Sigei’s request to commence his terminal leave on May 20, 2024.

His deputy, Mr George Nyakweba, will take over after Sigei’s departure until a permanent CEO is recruited.

The appointment of a new CEO will put an end to Mr Sigei’s constant clashes with the Collective Management Organisations MCSK, PRISK and KAMP, who have on countless occasions accused him of high-handedness in regulating the CMOs, which the societies claim has always frustrated their efforts and endeavours in collecting and distributing artiste royalties.

Last year, the CMOs launched a campaign to have Sigei removed from office, claiming that he had overstayed his tenure.

But CS for Youth Sports and Arts Ababu Namwamba defended Mr Sigei’s tenure, saying it was within the provisions of the Copyright Act.

According to Section 11 of the Act, the term of office of the executive director is four years with the possibility of reappointment for one more term.

Appearing before the Sports and Culture Committee last year, MCSK, PRISK and KAMP called for Mr Sigei’s dismissal.

“Mr Sigei has overstayed in office and should be sacked or transferred elsewhere to allow for maximum collection of fees. We hear that the KECOBO boss has godfathers in government, so the president should speak on the matter,” MCSK CEO Ezekiel Mutua implored the committee.

But in a report by CS Namwamba to the same committee, he defended Sigei’s tenure.

“The executive director served his first term from June 1, 2016, to May 31, 2019, due to the absence of the board. The Attorney General, under whose authority the Kenya Copyright Board was then operating, extended the term for a period of six months pending the reconstitution of the board,” reads part of the report.

According to Mr Sigei’s appointment letter dated May 30, 2019, he was appointed in an acting capacity for six months.

Following the reconstitution of the Board on October 30, 2019, Mr Sigei’s term was extended by the Board for seven months to allow for a performance evaluation.

Subsequently, the board decided to grant the executive director a further four-year term, starting on 26 July 2020 and ending on June 30, the report added.