AG Kihara appeals court’s ruling declaring Mary Wambui unfit for NEA job

Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki when he appeared before the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee at Parliament on April 16, 2019, on the National Anti-Corruption policy. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki has appealed the ruling of the Labour Court which declared former Othaya Member of Parliament Mary Wambui unfit to chair the National Employment Authority board.

Responding to the petition filed by the Young Parliamentarians Association, AG Kariuki alongside Mary Wambui and Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui have protested the court's decision made earlier this month.

The three have launched their appeal at the Appellate Court.

The petition partly read: “Take notice that the respondents herein being dissatisfied with the Judgment of the Honourable Justice Onesmus Makau on 17th January 2020, in Nairobi [sic] intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal of Kenya against the said whole decision.”

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 They, however, failed to give reasons why they were dissatisfied with the ruling of Justice Onesmus Makau.

The Labour Court on January 17 declared the former legislator unqualified to chair the NEA board on account that her appointment failed to meet the requirements of the law.

"Her appointment to the board does not meet the constitutional requirements; it is therefore null and void. The Gazette notice is quashed. It is unlawful. A permanent injunction is issued barring her from being appointed to the post," ruled the judge.

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The case was filed by Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association, a lobby headed by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.

According to the lobby, the former MP had severally admitted that she had a limited educational background.

Section 10(2) of the National Employment Authority Act provides that a person shall be qualified to serve as the chairperson of the board if they have at least seven years’ experience in Human Resource Management or its equivalent.

However, there is no age limit.

The court heard that she did not have academic and professional qualifications to allow her run the office.

In a Gazette notice dated October 14, 2019, then Labour CS Ukur Yatani picked Wambui for the job, triggering an outcry from Kenyans.

Following the appointment, Wambui was expected to lead a team that will create job centres in all constituencies where youths would register, detailing their skills.

The authority is also expected to be a link between employers and potential employees by posting available vacancies on social media. 

[Additional reporting by Kamau Muthoni]

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National Employment AuthorityMary WambuiAttorney-General Kihara KariukiCourt of Appeal