The County Public Service Board (CPSB) yesterday urged the High Court to throw out a case seeking to block recruitment of 348 workers.
Appearing before Justice Anne Ong’injo, the CPSB, through lawyer Mwirigi Kaburu, claimed the matter was improperly before the High Court as it should have been filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
Eight applicants, who are represented by lawyer Kiogora Mugambi, claim the shortlist for 348 vacancies was shrouded in secrecy and fell short of ethical requirement since the county has not disclosed the list of all applicants.
“The petitioners are apprehensive that the piecemeal shortlisting is intended to give unfair advantage to some of the applicants who may fail in the positions already interviewed for,” claim the petitioners who include Francis Curuka, Patrick Kirigia, Adam Yassin, Martin Mwenda and Wilfred Murithi Kirima.
They are seeking to block the first mass recruitment under Governor Kiraitu Murungi’s administration.
But the CPSB said the applicants are disgruntled citizens who seek to block the recruitment merely because they did not make it to the shortlist.
“This court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the dispute before court. Provisions of Article 162 (2) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, section 12(1) of the Employment and Labour Relations Act, 2011, oust jurisdiction of this court to hear and determine this petition and as such the same should be struck out with costs,” the CPSB said in its preliminary objection.
The petitioner’s lawyer, however, said the matter was in the right forum because those who have instituted the case had not applied for the positions but were suing as concerned citizens.
Justice Ong’injo gave the petitioners the whole of yesterday to file their grounds of opposition to the preliminary objection by the CPSB and directed that the application be argued before him this morning.
The applicants want the county government stopped from proceeding with the interviews scheduled to start on Monday and that it be ordered to conduct fresh recruitment while observing gender, regional, and age balance as well as Meru diversity and inclusiveness.
The county government has shortlisted applicants for 70 of the 86 cadres advertised last June.
The skilled positions range from technicians and artisans to engineers, graduate medical officers and departmental directors.
Sources in the CPSB said over 13,000 had applied for the vacancies.