Human rights activist Okiya Omtatah has moved to court to stop Kenya Airways (KQ) from sending pilot trainees abroad.
Omtatah (pictured) wants the airline to be stopped from sending candidates to South Africa pursuant to its advert that closed on December 11, 2019, inviting applicants for trainee pilot positions under its Ab Initio Pilot Trainee Program.
The activist argued that the training can be offered by local schools that have the capacity and facilities to provide them.
"I also want the court to certify this matter as urgent and be granted a hearing on a priority basis," said Omtatah in the petition filed at Milimani court.
He said that KQ has solicited and received public money to keep the company afloat. Thus, it is necessary for them to account for such funds.
"By soliciting and receiving public funds, KQ has become a public law with regard to the necessary safeguard of the said public funds, including by being bound by Kenya's public procurement laws, “he said in his petition.
He said that under Article 10 of the Constitution, the company is also bound to be patriotic and equitable yet it continues to send its trainee pilots to train outside the country (in South Africa) while Kenya has Government Approved Training Organizations whose quality cannot be faulted.
That KQ has over years hired locally trained pilots is proof that Kenyan institutions are well equipped, he stated. He also said that other countries in the region train their pilots in Kenya.
Omtatah said he is saddened by the act of disregarding Kenyan Pilot training facilities and not procuring the required training services in strict compliance with Kenya's procurement laws. He accused KQ of not using the Kenyan taxpayer funds it receives in accordance with the law.
In consequence, he added that KQ has failed to comply with both the Constitution and the Public Procurement and Asset and Disposal Act 2015.
The petition postulates that the court has powers and the jurisdiction to stop the blatant disregard for the rule of law.
The Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, National Treasury and Attorney General are the key respondents in the suit.
Some of the country’s aviation schools Nairobi Flight Training, Ninety Nines Flying, Kenya School of Flying and Flight Training Centre.