Activist Okiya Omtatah seeks to block new Uhuru appointees

Activist Okiya Omtatah at a past function. He has moved to court to stop the latest appointments by the President. [David Njaaga, Standard]
Activist Okiya Omtatah has moved to court to quash President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent appointees to boards of State corporations.

He claims the latest appointments were made in contempt of courts orders requiring they must be made in accordance with the Constitution.

The appointments, made on Monday and Friday last week, mostly benefited Jubilee supporters and allies of opposition leaders, particularly politicians who lost in the last elections.

Respondents in Omtatah’s case at the Employment and Labour Relations court are the Executive, Public Service Commission, State Corporations Advisory Committee and the Attorney General.

A week ago, the court ordered all State appointments should be done according with the law.

Omtatah wants a declaration respondents are in contempt of a court order.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this application, the court should suspend the following gazette on the appointments,” said Omtatah.

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He want the court to quash gazette notice dated February 4, 2019 appointing John Ndege Obwocha, Catherine Njeri, Alice Chepchumba, Francis Kiriinya, Moses Nderitu and Meshak Kidenda members of the Board of National Transport and Safety Authority. They are to serve on the board for three years. Their appointments became effective the same February 4.

Omtata is seeking to quash another gazette notice dated January 31, 2019 appointing Bernard Njiru Njiraini to be the managing director of the Numerical Machining Complex Limited for a period of three years with effect from January this year.

He has challenged the over 60 appointments and wants the court to quash notices number 1202 to 1210 and 1212 to 1261 dated February 8, 2019, and gazette notice No. 1038, dated January 31, 2019.

Omtatah said the respondents have defied court orders that stated the appointments should be fair and open.

“Respondents deliberately defied orders of this court by handpicking and purporting to appoint individuals to be chairpersons and members of boards of State corporations and state agencies,” said Omtatah.

He accused the Executive of violating an order that future appointments should be based on the law and should be fair, open, competitive and based on merit through an inclusive process.

The activist said the orders were violated when the respondents handpicked and appointed individuals to positions of chairpersons and members of the boards of state corporations and state agencies.

“The appointments were made in defiance of orders of this court and are therefore invalid and void,” Omtatah told court yesterday. Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has revoked the appointment of Peter Odoyo Kwaga as a member of Kenya Institute of Mass Communication Council.

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Activist Okiya Omtatahstate appointmentsUhuru's appointments