Juma Kiprono Kandie, the CA boss with ‘two birthdays’ protests at ‘early retirement’

Communication Authority of Kenya

The Communication Authority of Kenya head office in Westlands, Nairobi, in December 2020.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A former director at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) with clashing dates of birth in his passport and national identity card has moved to court accusing his employer of sending him home before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60 years.

Mr Juma Kiprono Kandie, who was until last week the director of human capital and administration at CA, has termed his removal as illegal and a witch-hunt.

Mr Kandie, who had worked for CA for 23 years, maintains in the petition that all his official documents indicate that he was born on December 12, 1964 and is set to retire next year.

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Jacob Gakeri certified the case as urgent and ordered CA to respond to the petition within two days. The case will be heard today.

Mr Kandie has further protested the decision by the National Registration Bureau (NRB), on May 19, invalidating an identity card he acquired on April 3, this year and which corrected the variance on his date of birth.

This was after he was asked to provide his birth certificate to allow the NRB decide the matter.

“In the meantime, the identity card number 249796802 issued to you on April, 2023 stands invalidated until you present the above documents. Please be informed that the correct and valid date of the birth according to records by the department is 12/12/1962,” the letter by NRB official Lucy Karanja stated. An earlier identity card, which he acquired in 1980/81, stated that he was born on December 12, 1962 and the name reads as Chuma Kiprono Kandie while the second one, issued this year said he was born on December 12, 1964 and identifies him as Juma Kiprono Kandie.

Mr Kandie said in the petition that all was well at his workplace until early this year when the board commenced what he terms as a witch-hunt and a plan to kick him out of CA.

He said he was asked in April to proceed on leave for 30 days to allow investigations on the discrepancy in his year of birth, as indicated in his passport and his identity card.

Mr Kandie said he explained the variance that was caused by an erroneous entry in his year of birth as 1962 instead of 1964. He says it was because of a part of mass registration programme that was rolled out by the government in 1980 and 1981.

“But that was corrected to reflect 1964 in my first passport, obtained on 10th March 1986,” he says. Mr Kandie adds that all his official documents, including his school leaving certificates, indicate that he was born in 1964, the year he also indicated in his employment records.

He says he was surprised when CA director-General Ezra Chiloba sent him on compulsory leave on April 22, a period which was extended before he was served with another letter of interdiction.

“Interestingly, I was now being sent on interdiction for two reasons: one, that I had allegedly attained the retirement age and two, that I had allegedly failed to establish a panel of values for the staff mortgage policy,” he says.

He further claims that he has been under immense pressure from Mr Chiloba to resign voluntarily but he declined, despite being warned of losing his benefits.

Mr Kandie says that all his retirement benefits have been taken away without being given a chance to issue a retirement notification to CA’s pensions scheme administrator, which should be made nine months before the retirement date.

Mr Kandie claims there had been attempts to irregularly declare him and other officials redundant since 2015 but they moved to court and managed to halt the process. CA later altered their terms of employment from permanent and pensionable to contractual after internal changes in the organisation. He says his new contract was to run from August 1, 2022 to December 12, 2024, when he should have attained the retirement age.