Court face-off after police bosses defy pay directives

Hillary Mutyambai

Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and top security officials brief outside Jogoo House on December 20, 2021. Mr Mutyambai has ordered all officers who are on leave to be back at their workstations by July 4.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group 

What you need to know:

  • Job groups and salaries must be reverted to the initial state, court rules.
  • Three graduate police officers filed the case after they were demoting and their salaries reduced.

National Police Service Commission (NPSC) chairman Eliud Kinuthia has been summoned by the Labour Relations and Employment Court for disobeying orders to reinstate job grades and pay of graduate officers that were downgraded last year.

Justice Mathews Nderi Nduma ruled that the job groups and salaries must be reverted to the initial state, pending the hearing and determination of a case filed by officers challenging the move.

“The chairperson of NPSC is hereby summoned to this court on a date to be determined by the court to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt and punished for disobeying orders of stay issued on December 15, 2021,” the judge said.

He added that the court would not grant audience to the respondents on the merits of the case until they comply with the directives.

“In the event the respondents fail to comply with the said orders, this suit shall proceed ex parte on June 14, 2022,” the judge said. 

Three graduate police officers – Ayub Mathenge, Dorothy Mbusiro and Robinson Cheruiyot – filed a case on behalf of others against Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, Mr Kinuthia and Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki for demoting them and reducing their pay.

The officers say the respondents failed failed to have the remuneration they enjoyed under Job Group J reverted despite court orders.

The three say they were lawfully hired in Job Group J as graduate officers in 2013, which they continue to serve. 

However, they were unlawfully demoted to Job Group K – the entry grade for non-university degree holders.

Their pay was slashed through a letter by the deputy inspector general dated November 16, 2021. 

The three say they now earn the equivalent of their Job Group F juniors. 

The officers told the court that they wrote to the respondents, urging them to implement the court orders “but they have contemptuously and arbitrarily refused, which is in itself a threat to the rule of law”.

Justice Nduma said the orders issued by the court are compulsive, peremptory and expressly binding.

“The respondents, regardless of their might, cannot be allowed to disregard lawful court orders,” Justice Nduma said. 

“Indeed, the respondents are the primary enforcers of the rule of law and cannot have the liberty of choosing which court directives to obey.”

Through Senior State Counsel Wycliffe Odukenya, the IG and NPSC said they are incapable of implementing the orders directing them to restore the pay.

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