Why sacked TSC deputy CEO is back in office

Court ruled that TSC unfairly sacked Dr Kennedy Juma Mulunda over allegations of bribery and intimidation. [iStockphoto]

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has ordered the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to reinstate its sacked deputy commission secretary.

Lady Justice Monica Mbaru, in her judgement dated November 30, ruled that TSC unfairly sacked Dr Kennedy Juma Mulunda over allegations of bribery and intimidation.

The judge ordered that Mulunda resumes his duties immediately without loss of salary, benefits and work entitlements.

“He was the second highest officer at TSC as the deputy commission secretary. The premature process leading to termination of his employment placed him at a higher loss and the only remedy the court can issue is that he be immediately reinstated to his position,” ruled Justice Mbaru.

The decision is a big win for Mulunda who has been battling the teachers’ employer since his sacking on June 20 and is likely to create confusion and power struggle at the commission as another person was appointed to take up his role.

Mulunda, in his petition, stated that his troubles started in October 2021 while on official duties in Geneva, Switzerland, when he received a message from TSC boss Nancy Macharia that some school heads in Western and Nyanza were complaining over his alleged harassment and intimidation.

In January 2022, he was issued with a show-cause notice over allegation of abuse of office, influencing teachers’ transfers, interference with the schools' procurement processes and bribery before he was sacked on June 20.

TSC, in its defence, argued that it acted lawfully in terminating Mulunda’s contract after receiving complaints from several school principals and bursars.

The commission also defended the disciplinary process leading to Mulunda’s sacking, arguing that it gave him a fair chance to defend himself but he declined. It said it had already filled his position after recruiting another deputy commission secretary.

Justice Mbaru, however, ruled that the commission hurriedly made the decision to sack the employee and that there was no justification for TSC to rely on an investigative committee report instead of giving Mulunda a chance to defend himself.

“Employee’s right to be heard whenever an employer is contemplating terminating his contract is a sacrosanct right. It cannot be taken away through the invocation of an investigative committee report,” ruled Mbaru.

She added that the due process of allowing Mulunda the right to a hearing before employment is terminated cannot be circumvented through the investigations committee report.

According to the judge, the lapse in due process resulted in eschewed and premature findings against Mulunda.

“Whether the investigative committee was right or wrong, by subjecting him to the motions of the law would have given him opportunity to defend his employment. Such lapse resulted in unfair termination of his employment,” she ruled.