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Court of Appeal halts fresh Communications Authority of Kenya's board appointment

By Kamau Muthoni | August 5th 2015

The Court of Appeal has suspended the process of appointing a fresh Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) board.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang'i delivers a speech during the opening of ICT Week at a Nairobi Hotel (PHOTO: DAVID NJAAGA/STANDARD)

The decision by Appellate Court judges Erastus Githinji and Sankale Ole Kantai gave a lifeline to the current board that had been disbanded by the High Court until the appeal filed by the authority is heard and determined.

"The quashing order in question specifically declared the appointment of the board a nullity and thus disbanded the members of the board. Although the court did not issue an order of mandamus compelling commencement of the process of appointment of members of the board afresh, that was the inevitable consequence. We allow the application and grant an order of stay of execution of the order of the High Court dated May 29, 2015 pending appeal as prayed," the ruling read in part.

Proper procedure

The High Court in May declared that the board was null and void following an application in 2014 by Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Association of Kenya Secretary General Kamotho Njenga, who argued that the appointments by ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i (pictured) were done outside the proper appointment procedure.

In the case before the second highest court in the land, CA argued the orders of the lower court had the adverse effect of crippling its entire operations as the board had been in operation for the last one year before being disbanded.

The court heard that the orders left a void that would in turn affect the commission's decision-making process. The court heard that there was also a risk of challenging the decisions of the disbanded board for the entire year it was in office. The Communications Authority held that this would lead to great economic loss.

The commission further argued that Kamotho's complaint was that the publication of the list of candidates and short-listed applicants was done outside the stipulated seven days and not that the board was put in place outside the time limit set by the law.

However, Kamotho said there would be no loss if a new board were appointed. He said there was enough time to get another team.

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