Nakuru MCAs defy courts, vet 21 chief officer nominees

Speaker of the Nakuru County Assembly, Joel Karuri Maina.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Nakuru County Assembly Speaker Joel Karuri Maina risks being sued for contempt of court after disobeying orders issued by the High Court that stopped the vetting of 21 people nominated for chief officer by Governor Susan Kihika.

Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge David Nderitu had on Friday issued orders stopping the vetting and or approval of the nominees following a petition by Michael Oduor.

The court directed that the process be stopped pending the hearing and determination of the suit challenging their nomination.

The judge also certified the application as urgent.

But on Monday, the assembly continued vetting the nominees in total disregard of the court orders.

The Nation established that more than four of the candidates were vetted.

A senior assembly official said the process kicked off at around 10am on Monday.

More of the nominees are set to be vetted on Tuesday.

"Vetting of the chief officers is ongoing. The county assembly has not received any court orders barring the vetting of the chief officers. The exercise is therefore going on," said the official.

Speaker Maina could not be reached for comment, as phone calls and text messages sent to him went unanswered.

In the suit, Mr Oduor, through lawyer Allan Kibet, names Governor Kihika, the Speaker and the County Public Service Board as respondents.

The nominees are also named as interested parties.

“Pending the hearing of this application inter-partes, or such further or other orders of this court, the County Assembly of Nakuru through the third respondent [Speaker] is restrained from considering, approving and or vetting the listed Chief Officers named by the Clerk, to the said County Assembly,” the orders issued on Friday say.

The court also issued orders barring the nominee from taking up office or performing any work that should be performed by holders of the respective offices.

Mr Oduor says the interviewing, recommending and nominating of the candidates exhibited prejudice and injustice.

He accuses the governor, the County Public Service Board and the Speaker of engaging in illegalities, by re-designating some of the chief officers to positions that they did not apply for and were not interviewed for.

Last month, the Employment and Labour Relations Court extended orders barring the assembly from vetting nominees for Governor Kihika’s cabinet.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa, on October 31, ruled that the orders issued on October 19 were to remain in force pending the hearing and determination of a case filed by Nakuru surgeon Benjamin Magare Gikenyi.

Dr Magare accused Governor Kihika of discrimination in what he called skewed appointments that did not reflect the ethnic composition of the cosmopolitan county.

He claims the list is not ethnically balanced as it favours one community at the expense of the other 43 in the county.

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