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Water CS Sicily Kariuki sued over board appointment

MONEY & CAREERS
By Kamau Muthoni | February 25th 2021

A Baringo County resident has sued Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki (pictured) over a board managing water in four counties. 

Laban Rotich, in a case filed before the High Court in Kabarnet, wants the court to disband the Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency, citing illegalities in the appointment process. 

The agency is a successor of Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency, which was disbanded in 2019. In its place, the ministry split the agencies into two; Central Rift and North Rift. 

Rotich argues that the current office holders of Central Rift are illegally in office, as they were allegedly not competitively recruited.

Rotich, a businessman based at Kabarnet also roped in the members of the board-  Stephen Njung’e, Francisca Kamuren, Lorna Timanoi, David Kamau, Johnson Kinyanjui, Nderitu Mathenge and Eng. Hosea Wendot (Central Rift CEO) arguing that they should be barred from running the agency.

His lawyers Nganywa and Kibet Partners LLP also claim that the board members do not meet the two-third gender principle set in the Constitution adding that they do not also hail from the counties under Central Rift.

According to court documents, the CS advertised for the various positions of different water agencies across the country. She allegedly failed to list Central Rift in the list.  Laban lawyers now argue that the board members were unliterary appointed instead of being subjected to a competitive process.

“The chairperson and members of the board of the Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency were never advertised and consequently, the appointees are in the office irregularly and unlawfully been recruited in a manner contravening the competitive recruitment process expressly provided for in the Water Act,” Court record filed on February 19 reads in part.

The businessman claims that of the eight members, six come from the same ethnic background. This, he says, is contrary to the requirement for gender, regional and ethnic diversity.

At the same time, he alleged that Njung’e, the chairman of the agency hails from Kajiado County and has no businesses or residence in the four counties the agency covers. He also claims that Kamuren is a Nakuru resident and had contested for Nakuru West’s Member of Parliament’s seat.

Another board member, Kinyanjui, is said to be from Kiambu County. “Except for Lorna and Francisca, all the other board members including the representatives of the ministry and inspectorate of State Corporations hail from the Mount Kenya region leaving out the other communities who inhabit the basin,” he claims adding that over forty communities have been locked out.

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