State fights back in CAS jobs suit
What you need to know:
- PSC says the commission followed due process in establishing the office, including inviting views from the public.
- On Wednesday, the Employment and Labour Relations Court suspended plans by PSC to create the positions.
- LSK says in its petition that plans to establish the office of the CAS are likely to cause financial strain on many Kenyans as they will be forced to cater for extra wages for jobs that can be done by principal secretaries.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has defended its decision to advertise for the positions of chief administrative secretaries, days after the Employment court suspended the establishment of the office.
PSC Secretary Simon Rotich, in a reply to a case filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), says the commission followed due process in establishing the office, including inviting views from the public.
On Wednesday, the Employment and Labour Relations Court suspended plans by PSC to create the positions.
In his affidavit, Mr Rotich says PSC had complied with all the relevant laws – including the Public Service Commission Act – in establishing the office.
Mr Rotich argues that the process was also guided by a High Court ruling in 2018 which said that while the positions were not unconstitutional, it was the manner in which they were created, including the lack of public participation, that was wrong.
Following the High Court ruling, Mr Rotich says, the commission invited members of the public to submit their views on the creation of the offices, out of which a decision was made.
During public participation, the commission received 498 responses. Three were requests for particulars; 108 applications for appointment to the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) position; 162 were statements in support and 225 were against the establishment of the office.
“In its judgement, the court faulted the procedure for establishing the office but did not find the office itself to be unconstitutional. It follows, therefore, that if the procedure for establishing the office is complied with, there would be nothing unconstitutional about the office,” Mr Rotich argues.
LSK says in its petition that plans to establish the office of the CAS are likely to cause financial strain on many Kenyans as they will be forced to cater for extra wages for jobs that can be done by an already-established office of the principal secretary.
But in his affidavit, Mr Rotich dismisses the arguments, arguing that the positions have been in existence during retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure and had been budgeted for in previous budgets.
“The position was established in January 2018 and has since then been provided for in the successive budgets including the current budget of the financial year 2022/23 which is now in its second quarter,” he states.
The advertisement, LSK says, was inadequate to elicit informed views from the public.
The advert, according to the lawyer’s lobby, is hollow and only meant to sanitise an otherwise illegal and irregular process.
LSK further says that public participation is not merely a formality but an exercise that must be aimed at collating the views of the public in decision-making.
In response, Mr Rotich argues that LSK’s case together with the Wednesday court order had been overtaken by events because it had already recommended the creation of the CAS office and the President had followed its advice.