Medic wants Governor Kihika to recall new list of CEC nominees

Nakuru governor Susan Kihika. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A Nakuru surgeon has issued a notice of intention to sue Governor Susan Kihika, few days after she forwarded names of county ministers to the County Assembly for vetting.

Dr Magare Gikenyi, in a letter dated December 8, accuses the governor of forwarding a list similar to the one contested, except for a single person.

Gikenyi and Daniel Bett had sued the governor contesting an earlier list that they said did not reflect the ethnic diversity of the cosmopolitan county.

On December 5, the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru issued orders quashing the appointment of the CECs.

The county boss was also ordered to initiate a proper legal process of filling the CEC positions as contemplated in the Constitution, the County Government Act, and all the enabling provisions of the law.

The order also prohibited the governor from processing the listed CECs or any other persons nominated in contravention of the law.

Dr Gikenyi claims the governor did not follow due process of advertising, interviewing, nominating, vetting and appointment.

"However, to my dismay, you have released a new list dated December 8, 2022, essentially the same as that of the last impugned (except one person) without following due process. One wonders how you arrived at the new list, yet the early processes led to the impugned list to be questioned by the court. You have started from the nomination stage despite the fact that the court took issue with your processes leading to the nomination of CEC members," stated Gikenyi in the letter.

The doctor said the issue of ethnic marginalisation is not cured by essentially reproducing the initial list.

The court, he said, was clear that the process ought to be started again to address shortcomings of the first recruitment.

"I formally protest the new list since it has failed to follow court directions of starting afresh and as such the same is taken as a failure on your part to respect court orders. Take this as notice of intention to sue to protect the authority of courts," stated Gikenyi.

He gave the governor until today (December 12) to rescind her new list and initiate a new process as directed.

The governor, in the second list, replaced only one of the 10 nominees who has since been appointed to another position in the county.

In her previous nominations, Kihika had listed Dr Samwel Mwaura as the CECM in charge of Health, a position he had held at the county between 2013 and 2017 under Kinuthia Mbugua.

In the new list, Kihika dropped Dr Mwaura and retained Jacqueline Mong'ina Osoro at the department.

This was a surprise move as she had earlier axed the new nominee who has been holding the position under the Lee Kinyanjui administration.

The County Assembly, which received the new list on December 8, published a schedule for approval hearing of the nominees who will all be vetted on December 15.

The assembly had earlier this week held a meeting with the ward representatives after which they declared their unwavering support for Kihika's administration.

"The people who elected all of us want work done for them and not the back and forth seen in the courts," said Majority Leader Alex Langat.

High Court advocate Kipkoech Ngetich has termed the changes as cosmetic and political as they do not meet the constitutional threshold that had led the courts to quash the first list.

In the earlier appointments, Kihika had picked her 10 nominees from three communities; Kikuyus, Kalenjin and the Luo in a ratio of 7:2:1 respectively.

Ngetich says that the new list is a weak attempt to tilt the scales through the nomination of Osoro who hails from the Kisii community, a minority group in the county by taking one slot from the Kikuyu community who are the majority.

He warns that though the County Assembly may vet and approve the names forwarded to it, Kihika should not count herself as having moved out of the woods.

"If the list is approved as it is, which is most likely since she has the support of the assembly, Kihika is likely to fall in the same bottomless pit again if the petitioners move back to court," said Ngetich.

A section of the Nakuru business community has criticised litigants filing cases against the nominees saying that the tribal card should not be considered in place of service delivery.

"It is time for the county to serve the residents. We have had enough delay and expect that nobody moves back to court. The petitions should not derail the new leadership," said Steve Kihara.