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Communications Authority directors sue government, vow to stay put

By Frankline Sunday | February 14th 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Seven directors at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) have obtained court orders challenging the government’s decision to replace them.

The board members; Wilbert Kipsang, Kennedy Monchere, Grace Mwendwa, Prof Levi obonyo, Hellen Kinoti, Beatrice Opee and Peter Munywoki have sued the CA and ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru.

Justice Abuodha granted the directors reprieve by suspending the notice by the government declaring the board vacant and preventing the ICT CS from filling the positions pending an inter-party hearing on February 25. Mr Mucheru’s office last week advertised the positions of the CA board calling for prospective board members to apply by 5pm February 12.

Two weeks ago, ICT CS withdrew an appeal at the High Court ruling seeking to dissolve the board. The move upheld a May 2015 High Court ruling which found the board illegally constituted paving way for the establishment of a new board.

Mucheru then explained that the decision to withdraw the appeal came from the Attorney General, who said “chances of wining the case were slim”.

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However, sources say the new CS is keen on overhauling the top level management and reforming the telecommunications regulator which has been dogged by controversy and legal disputes. The seven board members were picked by former ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi in June 2014 for a three year term starting May 20.

However, in October 2014, Secretary-general of the ICT Association of Kenya Kamotho Njenga filed an application in court challenging the legality of the constitution of the board and the recruitment panel leading to May 2015 ruling by High Court Judge George Odunga which quashed the gazette notice on the appointment of the CA board of directors.

In response to the suit, the then ICT CS maintained that the board was legally constituted and on advise of Attorney General Githu Muigai, lodged a formal appeal challenging the ruling.

The new developments now cast a cloud of uncertainty at Kenya’s ICT sector regulator, which is currently battling several suits.

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