Second blow for Susan Kihika as court stops vetting of Chief Officer nominees

Governor Susan Kihika.

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika has suffered yet another setback after the court barred the vetting of Chief officers nominees.

Judge David Nderitu of the Employment and Labour Relations Court issued orders stopping the vetting and or approval of 21 Chief officers nominees following an application filed by Michael Oduor. The judge certified the application as urgent.

This comes just weeks after his choice of ten county executive committee members was stopped by another court over claims that it failed to met the legal requirements.

On Friday, Mr Oduor in a suit filed through lawyer Allan Kibet named Governor Susan Kihika, Speaker of the County Assembly, the County Public Service Board as respondents. The 21 nominees were also named as interested parties in the case.

“That pending the hearing of this application inter-partes, or such further or other orders of this court, the County Assembly of Nakuru through the third respondent (Speaker of the County Assembly of Nakuru) is restrained from considering, approving and or vetting the listed Chief Officers named by the Clerk, to the said County Assembly,” read the orders in part.

The court further Issued orders barring the nominated Chief officers from taking up office or performing any work that should be performed by holder of respective offices.

The judge directed that the orders and the petition be to the respondents immediately.

Oduor in his application said great prejudice and injustice exhibited during the process of interviewing, recommending, and nomination of the Chief officers.

He accuses the Governor, the County Public Service Board, the Speaker of the County Assembly of engaging in an illegality, by re-designating some of the Chief Officers, to positions that they did not apply for, and were never interviewed.

“After interviewing, recommendation, nomination and re-designation, of the Interested Parties (nominees), the 1st Respondent (Governor) has forwarded their names to the County Assembly for vetting, which is scheduled to take place from the 14th to 17th November, 2022, in a manner that is alien to justice, fairness and relevant laws. The Respondents have overthrown the Constitution!” read the petition in part.

He said those who may have qualified in those posts did not have a fair competition with the ones re-designated.

In the alleged re-designation Ncece Joyce applied and was interviewed for Medical Services but nominated for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance.

Koech Charles Kipng’etich applied and was interviewed for Youth and Vocational Training but was nominated for Administration and Devolution while Sang Bernard Kipkirui applied and was interviewed for Lands and Physical Planning, but was nominated for Public Works.

Oduor said the rest of the applicants in the said three dockets were overlooked and never competed with the predesignated nominees. He added that the qualifications for the various positions were not uniform and that is the reason why the County Public Service Board was specific in calling for the applications.

“To the extent that the Respondents re-designated the nominations of the 9th, 15th

and 18th Interested Parties, from the departments to which applied for, and were interviewed, the Respondents violated the Constitution, and their actions suffer from lack of fairness, accountability and transparency,” he stated.

He added that no balance was exercised during the nomination adding that no person with disability or from the marginalized community was considered.

“The entire process constitutes a gross violation of the National Values and Principles of the Governance, as set out in the Article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010,” he stated.

The orders barring vetting of the Chief officers is a big blow to the Governor whose vetting of County Minister was also stopped by the court.

The judge directed parties to appear in court on November 17, for further direction.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa on October 19 issued orders barring vetting of the CECs. The orders were extended on October 31. Dr Benjamin Magare filed the suit that resulted in stopping of vetting of County Ministers.