Court stops bid by Arati to pick public service board members

Kisii Governor Simba Arati and his deputy Robert Monda receives a Human Resource report from Institute of Human Resource Management-Kenya Chairperson Quresha Ahmed at gusii stadium on Feb 15, 2023. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

The Nairobi Employment, Labour and Relations Court has issued orders restraining Kisii Governor Simba Arati from constituting a new County Public Service Board.

Issuing the temporary orders, Justice Ocharo Kebiro said the matter be mentioned before the trial Judge on May 22 for directions on the preliminary objection and inter-parties hearing of the applicant’s application.

 “Pending the inter-partes hearing of the application dated May 8, 2023, implementation or further implementation of gazette notice No 5841 of 2023 dated April 25, 2023, is stayed.”

The judge restrained the county boss from constituting or causing to be gazetted any selection panel for purposes of undertaking a process for removal of the ex parte applicants as members of the Kisii County Public Service board.

 “Any selection panel constituted post the orders of May 9, 2023, for the purpose aforesaid is restrained from advertising, shortlisting, interviewing or hiring persons to replace the ex parte applicants pending the application hearing.”

Mr Arati had on May 9 nominated five members to the selection panel requesting the Kisii County Assembly to fast-track the process of approving the nominee.

In his orders issued on May 12, 2023, Justice Oncharo said the court needed to fully understand the history of the matter and confirm whether the directions that had been given by Kisumu Judge Christine Baari had been adhered to.

“The file has been availed and I have studied, and appreciate the history, the proceedings and the orders obtained herein. I have carefully listened to representations by counsel for the parties, they are largely that ought to be reserved for the trial court which I am not,” he said.

“I have carefully considered the submissions by counsel for the parties, the history of this matter and the proceedings and orders herein and come to the conclusion that some orders have to be issued for fairness.”

The embattled service board members had filed a judicial review case to challenge their dismissal by the Assembly. Three weeks ago, the five-member board was dismissed by the County Assembly.

The motion saw two members vote against the impeachment while 69 voted in favour. The Assembly has 71 MCAs - both elected and nominated.

However, they filed for a judicial review at the Kisumu Employment, Labour and Relation Court, premised on grounds of unlawful exercise of administrative power by the clerk, speaker and the County Assembly. 

The petitioner of the motion Benson Atika appears as an interested party. The five board members - Nancy Nyamwange, Jackson Bogonko, Patrick Mogusu, John Ndege and Judy Omare are the ex-parte applicants.