Court bars Mandera Governor Mohamed Khalif from appointing 33 Chief Officers

Mandera Governor Mohamed Khalif. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has barred Mandera Governor Mohamed Khalif from appointing 33 Chief Officers.

A petitioner, Abdullahi Mohamed Ahmed, had moved to court on Tuesday, November 22, seeking to stop the vetting and approval of Governor Khalif’s 33 Chief Officer nominees.

The nominees were scheduled for vetting by the County Assembly of Mandera on Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25.

According to the petitioner, the governor breached inclusivity and gender parity requirements while nominating the Chief Officers.

“The nomination [of the officers] is in violation of the Constitution of Kenya, with regard to inclusivity. The Respondents did not consider sub-clan, ethnicity and gender of the job applicants. One nominee, named as Miski Hassan Abdi is a recent graduate from the university and does not have the required ten years’ work experience,” said petitioner Abdullahi Ahmed.

Ahmed listed Governor Mohamed Khalif, Mandera County Assembly Clerk, the County Assembly Speaker and the Mandera County Public Service Board as respondents.

Justice James Rika, in his directive, said the County Assembly of Mandera can proceed with the vetting process, though the governor won’t appoint the Chief Officers until Ahmed’s petition is heard and determined.

“Pending hearing of the application inter-partes, the respondents are at liberty to proceed with the process of vetting and approval of the nominees. The respondents shall, however, not issue any letters of appointment or contracts of employment to any of the nominees until further orders of the court,” said Justice Rika.

The hearing will be on December 2, 2022.

The judge directed that the 33 Chief Officer nominees be listed as interested parties in the suit, and should be given time in court to defend themselves.

“It is important that they (Chief Officer nominees) are able to demonstrate before the court their qualifications, experience and if ethnicity and clannism are indeed integral to their appointment. They should not be denied their opportunity to work in the County Public Service without the benefit of hearing them individually,” said the judge.

Governor Khalif was given seven days to respond to Ahmed’s petition.