Puzzle of CASs still working, travelling despite court order
Some of the 50 Chief Administrative Secretaries (CASs) barred by the court from assuming office could be discharging their duties in total display of impunity that lawyers have said should be severely punished.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki were among high-ranking government officials who “received” the CASs in their offices after they were sworn in, despite the court order.
“I met the new CASs attached to my office this morning. Ann Wanjiku, Edwin Sudi Wandabusi, and Nicholas Rioba reported to the office on Thursday after they were sworn in at State House, Nairobi,” the DP tweeted just a day after the court order.
While their reporting to duty was made public, the CASs in the DP’s office have not been seen in public.
On the same day, Prof Kindiki sent out a statement delegating duties to three CASs appointed to his docket who are former Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga, former Narok Governor Samuel Tunai and former Ambassador Mohamud Saleh.
Of the three, Ms Omanga has been the most active. She often puts up posts on social media undertaking official duties.
“I want to thank the staff at the State Department for Foreign Affairs for their warm reception earlier today as I began undertakings on my new role as the Chief Administrative Secretary. I look forward to working together in achieving our mandates in line with our President’s vision,” she posted on March 30.
Two days earlier, Ms Omanga had made another post.
“Paid a courtesy call to Ambassador Julius Bitok, Principal Secretary for Immigration and Citizen Services. The meeting centered around bringing reforms in the Civil Registration Services (CRS), the National Registration Bureau (NRB) and the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA). As the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services I am committed to this transformative Agenda.”
Another active CAS who has not hidden his work is former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, who is the Trade, Investments and Industry ministry.
Some of the official engagements Dr Kidero has participated in include the American Chamber of Commerce Regional Summit held on March 30.
“During our meeting with the Abbot Team at the summit, we discussed among other issues, the undertaking of the biggest logistics business with the view of setting up a shop in Kenya. Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria offered to harmonise relations Abott has with East African Community (EAC) through the Kenya Investment Authority (KENIVEST) digital platform to streamline all investment issues,” he said after a sideline meeting.
Dr Kidero announced that Abbot had committed to work with the government to invest in HPV/ HIV interventions through USAID in arid areas.
Dr Kidero alongside the CS also held a meeting ‘with Prosper Africa - an American organisation that brings together services from across the United States of America government to help companies and investors do business in the United States of America and African markets.’
On April 26, Dr Kidero also met with Mr Deven Patel from Ahmedabad India and Mr Henadzi Zhabinski from India where they discussed the setting up a soda ash plant that will produce sodium silicate that is used to manufacture glass, setting up a solar farm that will supply electricity to the national grid and setting up a pharmaceutical company that will manufacture several products for both local consumption and export.
Foreign Affairs CAS Catherine Waruguru had on April 4 taken a photograph in an office set-up alongside her counterpart in the Ministry, Joash Maangi.
Also present in the meeting was Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Dr Alfred Mutua. She captioned the photo: “Wrapping up today’s statement.”
Mr Maangi also made a public announcement when he officially reported to his new office on March 27 when the order was already in place. The CASs had been barred by court from reporting to their offices.
The court had also barred them from earning salaries, remunerations, and any benefits pending the conclusion of the case filed by the Law Society of Kenya and Katiba Institute. The High Court is set to hear the matter next Friday.
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The officials have continued with their work for close to two months, attending official meetings as well as traveling across the country. The move exposes impunity and disregard of the rule of law by President Ruto’s administration against his promise to uphold the constitution.
During a joint interview last Sunday, President Ruto said he will not interfere with the independence of institutions, saying that since he assumed office, he has never called any of them to direct them on what to do.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Eric Theuri had in an earlier interview announced they would be seeking to file for contempt against some of the CASs.
But yesterday he said it would be difficult to prove that the officials have been discharging their duties against the court order.
He however described the public display by the officials as the height of impunity by Dr Ruto’s administration.
Mr Theuri said photographs by the officials attending public functions cannot be enough proof of them being in office. He explained that contempt can only be sustained in the presence of documents signed by the officials in their capacity as CAS.
“It is pure impunity. It may be difficult to push for contempt unless someone has been in the office and signed an official document. When all you have to show is a photograph, it becomes difficult to prove,” said Mr Theuri.
Information, Communication and Digital Economy CAS Dennis Itumbi has also been loud in his activities, even though he says he is working in a different capacity.
Mr Itumbi on Thursday accompanied Interior PS Raymond Omolo on the inspection of Embu Stadium where this year’s Madaraka day celebrations will be held. He attended the meeting in his capacity as the chairman of the thematic committee of National holidays.
“I presented a detailed report on the week-long activities happening in Embu. The report was adopted by the National Steering Committee led by Interior PS Raymond Omollo,” he posted on his Twitter account.