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Meru FM reporter summoned in contempt case against administrator

By Nderitu Gichure | November 21st 2018

A court has summoned a journalist to testify in a contempt case filed by Tharaka Nithi county government against one of the sacked village administrators.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered Rosemary Gaturia, of Meru FM, to appear before it in a case in which the devolved unit wants Eustace Kamunde Ndeke cited for contempt.

Ms Gatuiria is expected to tell the court whether or not Ndeke made comments regarding the labour dispute still pending before Justice Nzioki wa Makau.

Yesterday, the radio station’s manager, Mr Franklin Gituma and newsreader Mwenda Maguru produced, before court, alleged audio clip of Ndeke’s speech they aired on January 14.

In the clip played in court, Ndeke is heard commenting about the dispute in an interview with the reporter.

In cross examining Maguru, Ndeke questioned why the journalists described him as the executive secretary of village administrators in the news item. He also wanted to know why it was reported in the Kimwimbi sub-dialect yet he speaks Kichuka.

He denounced the sound clip saying he was not the person recorded. “At no time did I go to the radio studio or even briefed Ms Gatuiria,” he said.

“In this era of telecommunication technology, anything can be made and imposed on someone. The audio is a creation of a computer,” he said.

Ndeke claimed a former journalist with the radio station now worked with the government, and there was likelihood he was being used to create the audio evidence.

He’s among 133 administrators who sued the devolved unit and Governor Muthomi Njuki for dismissing them from service late last year.

He said they had been subjected to a lot of suffering since they were sent packing.

In their suit, they argue they were recruited by the County Public Service Board (CPSB) in 2016, and issued with appointment letters signed by County Secretary Kenneth Kanga.

The letters indicated they had been employed for a five-year term.

They argued the head of human resources, a Mr A. Muratha, had no powers to determine their qualifications and suitability to serve.

In the show-cause letters dated November 24, 2017, Mr Muratha indicated the CPSB discovered the employees were irregularly recruited as per an audit it had conducted.

Muratha said the 133 had not met the minimum requirements for their positions.

He said the audit showed some employees were not competitively recruited since no interviews were conducted.

Muratha further claimed the responsible county executive committee member had not approved the recruitment.

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