Careers of ousted Kakamega board members hang in the balance


Embattled Kakamega County Public Service Board (CPSB) chairperson Catherine Omweno during her cross-examination on December 6, 2023. [Nathan Ochunge, Standard]

The careers of impeached members of the Kakamega County Public Service Board (CPSB) hang in the balance as they await the outcome of a petition challenging their dismissal.

In a high-stakes legal battle that has taken at least five months, the board has been fighting to overturn the decision of the County Assembly of Kakamega that stripped them of their positions.

Those impeached include board chairperson Catherine Omweno and members Stanley Were, Ralph Wangatiah and Joel Omukoko. Vice chair Ambrose Subayi and member Sylvia Otunga survived.

They claim that they were unjustly removed from their roles, citing procedural irregularities and potential biases in the impeachment process.

Governor Fernandes Barasa and the assembly who are respondents in the petition have argued that it was a necessary step to safeguard the integrity and effectiveness of the board and that the process was above board.

The petitioners and the respondents will today make their final oral submissions and pave the way for the final court verdict.

Justice Jemimah Keli on April 15, ordered advocates of the parties involved to be ready with the 'highlighting of their final written submissions' in the case.

"I have checked in my records and all parties have filed their final responses and submissions. The next step will be the highlighting of the submissions orally on April 30, before I set a date for judgment," said Justice Keli.

The decision stemmed from a request by Barasa through his lawyer, Patrick Lutta.

Judge Keli had already set the judgment date but after the request, she rescinded the decision and allowed the parties to appear before her to 'iron out contentious issues' in the petition before a ruling is delivered.

The parties are in court fighting on whether the board should be kicked out of office following its impeachment by the county assembly.

Whereas Barasa maintains the county assembly followed due process in the impeachment of four out of the six service board members, the board has dismissed the claims, arguing the process was illegal and politically instigated. 

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