Court reverses order reinstating former water agency CEO

Engineer Samuel Oruma continues to serve as the water agency CEO. [File, Standard]

A High Court in Nakuru has reversed interim orders that reinstated Engineer Hosea Wendot as Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency (CRVWWDA) CEO.

Following the decision, Engineer Samuel Oruma continues to serve as the water agency CEO.

Oruma remains in office pending hearing and determination of the case that has been transferred to the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

"In the premises, this petition together with the pending applications are transferred to the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru for hearing and determination and or for further directions. The interim orders earlier issued are hereby discharged," ruled the court.

High Court Judge Hillary Chemitei had on February 16 overturned the agency's board decision made on April 30, 2021 and reinstated Wendot. The judge then halted all operations of the water agency's board of management. He ruled that the agency's new board of management was illegally formed on April 9, 2021.

Wendot had been reinstated pending the hearing and determination of a case he filed in court suing the water agency, CS Ministry of Water Sanitation and Irrigation, State Corporation Advisory Committee and newly constituted board members.

The order reinstating Wendot stirred a power tussle at the water agency over who between Engineers Oruma and Wendot should be the CEO. Wendot had in February attempted to return to office but Oruma maintained he was the CEO.

The water agency in an application dated February 20, sought to have the orders reinstating Wendot and halting the board's operation set aside. It also questioned the High Court jurisdiction in handling the matter.

Engineer Oruma also sought to be enjoined in the case by the agency as an interested party.

While the suit by the water agency was still pending in court, Wendot filed a contempt suit against Oruma.

Water CS Alice Wahome in an affidavit said the matter fell squarely on the jurisdiction of the labour court.

Judge Chemitei in a ruling delivered today said the matter ought to be canvased by Employment and Labour Relations Court. He discharged the orders he had earlier issued and transferred the petition together with other pending applications to the Employment and Labour Relations Court for hearing and determination.

"I think, and rightfully so, that this matter ought to be canvassed by the labour court. Nothing is lost to all the parties. The Constitutional rights of the petitioner (Wendot) which he alleged were breached will be dealt with by the said court which is competent enough," read the ruling by Judge Chemitei.

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