Kihika spared as court strikes out suit on chief officer nominees

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika. [Kipsang Joaseph, Standard]

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika got a reprieve on Friday after the Court of Appeal ruled that the Employment and Labour Relations Court had no jurisdiction to hear a petition challenging her nomination of 21 chief officers.

Two residents Kenneth Odongo and Stephen Ogutu had separately filed petitions claiming that the nomination was unconstitutional, irregular, and illegal for flouting clear provisions of the law.

Prior to the hearing of the petitions, Kihika filed a notice of preliminary objection on the grounds that the Employment and Labour Relations Court lacked the jurisdiction to deal with the matters raised.

Justice David Nderitu, however, dismissed Kihika’s application on November 29 saying that it lacked merit and that the court had the jurisdiction to hear the case which he directed to continue to a full hearing.

But appellate judges Fatuma Sichale, Fred Ochieng’ and Lydia Achode, sitting in Nakuru, said the jurisdiction of the Employment and Labour Relations Court is limited by the Employment and Labour Relations Court Act to matters relating to employment and labour relations.

The court also noted that the shortlisted officers by then had not been appointed as the process was halted before they could be vetted and thus it could be an employment and labour relations dispute.