Governor Nyong'o in trouble over appointments

Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang' Nyong'o. Two people sued Prof Nyong'o over short-listing of 10 chief officers. They want the positions re-advertised.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Two people from Kisumu have sued Governor Anyang' Nyong'o over what they term irregular short-listing of 10 chief officers.

Mr George Abwajo, secretary of the Kisumu County Budget and Economic Forum, and Mr Phillip Pande, a champion of good governance, are demanding that the county assembly be stopped from vetting and approving the shortlisted candidates until the case is heard and determined.

In the 13 prayers being sought by the two men, they want the positions re-advertised and due process followed in line with the Constitution.

In the petition filed at the High Court of Kenya, the two have sued Prof Nyong’o, the Kisumu County Public Service Board, and its secretary and CEO Hesbon Hongo, while the County Assembly of Kisumu is an interested party.

Mr Pande and Mr Abwajo feel the county government of Kisumu violated the Constitution by shortlisting 10 chief officers from various departments, which failed to reflect regional and gender balance.

In their sworn affidavits, they claim that on their face, the questionable appointments comprise nine male persons and only one female, while there are no persons with disability and no youth, contrary to the express requirements of the law.

“The impugned appointments do not reflect the face of Kisumu County, both in terms of sharing opportunities across the seven sub-counties in the region and on ethnic numerical composition of the cosmopolitan Kisumu County,” said Mr Abwajo.

Among the chief officers whose names have been forwarded to the assembly are Ms Benter Achieng Omolo (Public Service, County Administration and Participatory Development), Mr Victor Ndereba Kanyaura (Lands, Physical Planning, Housing and Urban Development), Dr Ojwang Lusi (Medical Services, Public Health and Sanitation), Mr Francis Okoth Asunah (Water, Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change) and Mr Charles Owino Odhong (Agriculture, Fisheries, Livestock Development and Irrigation).

Mr Paul Njenga Waweru has been shortlisted as chief officer for Finance, Economic Planning and ICT (e-government) services, Mr Daniel Okia Otieno (Infrastructure, Energy and Public Works), Mr Bovince Ochieng (Trade, Tourism, Industry and Marketing), Mr Frederick Mula Osewe (Education, Technical Training, Innovation and Social services) and Mr Timothy Nyakwamba Ajwang in the department of Sports, Culture, Gender and Youth Affairs.

The petitioners accused Prof Nyong’o of failing to uphold the values and principles of public service by not enquiring the content of list of the appointees.

“The governor failed to appraise himself with the list compiled with the said values and blindly forwarded it to the County Assembly for vetting when on its face it did not comply with the law,” said Mr Abwajo.

The two have also trained their guns on Mr Hongo, whom they accuse of overseeing the recruitment despite being ‘illegally’ in office.

Having held the position since November 2013, they claim, Mr Hongo has overstayed in office beyond the six-year non-renewable term provided for under section 58 of the County Governments Act and continues to draw salaries and benefits from the public coffers.

In their prayers, they want the court to declare that Mr Hongo is in office illegally and that he stops drawing salaries and public benefits immediately.

“We want a further order from the court to compelling Governor Nyong’o and the County Public Service Board to recover to recover all salaries and benefits paid to Mr Hongo subsequent to the expiry of his six-year non-renewable term in office in November 2019,” said the petitioners.

The petitioners want an order to be made by the court surcharging, from his salary and benefits, all payments made to the board secretary subsequent to the expiry of his tenure.

Pending the recruitment of a new CEO-cum-secretary of the board, the petitioners want the court to stop all new appointments, promotions or filing of vacancies with Kisumu County Public Service.