Journalist Albert Nyakundi asks High Court to stop interviews for PS positions

Public Service Commission Chief Executive Officer Simon Rotich (left). [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

A journalist has sued the Public Service Commission for locking out inexperienced Kenyans seeking the position of Principal Secretary.

Albert Nyakundi is accusing the commission and its Chief Executive Officer Simon Rotich of discrimination.

“The requirement means that applicants who have no experience at all or have experience of between one to nine years professional experience and less than five years in top leadership or management are not eligible despite having other relevant qualifications,” says Nyakundi.

He wants the High Court to stop the PSC from proceeding with interviews pending the determination of the suit.

PSC, on September 7, advertised for PS positions, with requirements that the applicants must have at least 10 years relevant experience, five of which must have been in leadership and top management level.

The agency also required applicants for clearance from the Kenya Revenue Authority, Higher Education Loans Board, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and a registered Credit Reference Bureau.

But Nyakundi argues this is unconstitutional and goes against labour laws, which prohibit scrutiny of job seekers for clearance before being employed.

“PSC should not be lazy. They should initiate independent investigations of applicants after receiving their data and after formal employment. Any attempts to delegate that to EACC and DCI, among others, is an exercise in futility and is just hot air,” he says.

According to Nyakundi, the PSC also failed to specify the number of vacant positions, and that there is a likelihood they already preferred candidates and were only subjecting job seekers to wild goose chase.

He adds that the advertisement gave unfair advantage to serving PSs, who will be given preference during interviews.

The journalist argues that PSC usurped the powers of President William Ruto.

“The commission can only give requirements for application for the post of a Principal Secretary because appointment of a PS is a preserve of the president. The president’s decision on who to hire cannot be determined by PSC,” he claims in the suit papers.

Nyakundi adds that although the commission had initially set September 20 as the deadline for application, they illegally extended it to September 27 without giving any reason. He claims they intended to give a chance to their preferred candidates who had not applied.

He wants the court to declare as unconstitutional the PSC Regulations of 2020 which give the commission power to hire State officers on account that it should be a preserve of the president.