Case against Ruto's appointee Mary Wambui certified as urgent

Businesswoman and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party Disputes Resolution Committee Vice-Chair Mary Wambui Mungai.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The Labour court has certified as urgent a case challenging President William Ruto's decision to appoint businesswoman Mary Wambui as the Communication Authority of Kenya Board chairperson.

Justice Mathews Nderi said the matter filed by activist Evans Momanyi is urgent and allowed his request to file the substantive case  seeking to quash the Gazette Notice appointing Wambui the chairperson of the CA board for a period of three years.

However, the judge declined to issue a temporary order blocking Wambui from assuming office pending the inter-partes hearing of the case.

The petitioner is challenging Wambui's competency. Momanyi argues that she has not met all mandatory requirements of the Kenya Information and Communication Act Number 2 of 1998 as any person appointed to that office must be degree holder.

He claims Wambui has failed the integrity test on the basis of the Sh2.2 billion tax evasion case against her that is pending at the anti-corruption court.

According to the activist, the President's decision to appoint Wambui was irregular, illegal and an outright abuse of the law.

"The purported appointment lacks proper legal backing and this an abuse of the law and the specific procedures as provided for by the Kenya Information and Communication Act," Momanyi says.

He further wants the court to allow him to institute a judicial review proceedings in the matter.

The lawsuit comes after Wambui was on December 1 appointed by President Ruto to serve in the position for a period of three years after Gilbert Kibe resigned.

"In exercise of the powers conferred by section 6 (1) (a) of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, I, William Ruto, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces of the Republic of Kenya, appoint—Mary Wambui Mungai to be the Chairperson of the Board of Communications Authority of Kenya, for a period of three (3) years, with effect from the 2nd December 2022. The appointment of Gilbert Kibe is revoked," a gazette notice by Ruto reads.

Notably, Kibe Gilbert was appointed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta in May 2022.

Before his appointment he, served as the Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) among other roles.

Kibe resigned hours before the head of state appointed Wambui as the body's chairperson.

As the chairperson, Wambui will oversee the operations at the Communications Authority.

Some of the functions include, licensing systems and services in the communication industry, facilitating the development and management of a national cyber security framework as well as facilitating the development of e-commerce.

In 2017, the tycoon was among 13 billionaires funding the re-election of retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.