Court suspends hiring of KBC top boss, three public officials

Thursday, May 23rd, 2024 10:30 | By
KBC MD Agnes Kalekye. PHOTO/Print

The government has suffered a major setback after the High Court temporarily suspended its recent appointments of four public officials among them Phillip Kiptanui Kirwa as the CEO of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH).

Also affected by the court order is the Managing Director of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) Agnes Kalekye, whose appointment has been suspended pending determination of a lawsuit lodged in court.

Justice Samwel Mohochi issued the conservatory orders barring four public officials namely MTRH CEO Kirwa, KBC MD Kalekye and Joseph Kamau as CEO of Athi Water Works Development Agency, Abdallah Hatimy as CEO of Kenya National Shipping Line Ltd from assuming their respective offices after a Nakuru based Doctor Magare Gikenyi and five other activists challenged their appointment terming them illegal and unconstitutional.

“That a conservatory order is hereby issued suspending the press release, gazette notice, and or any other document or authority appointing the 20, 22, and 24 respondents as chief executive officer or managing directors of the 21, 23, and 25 state corporations, respectively,” Mohochi stated.

The judge also barred the government from implementing the press release and gazette notice dated May 17, 2024 appointing four officials pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Further, Justice Mohochi has also restrained Kirwa from continuing to perform any roles as the CEO of MTRH whatsoever until inter-parties hearing of case.

The judge made the directive after certifying the case by Gikenyi as urgent and directed all parties involved to file their responses within seven days before mention of the case for June 11,2024.

In their case, the petitioners led Gikenyi wants the impugned appointment revoked on grounds that the same bypassed legal protocol, as they were allegedly made in consultation with the Head of Public Service Felix Koskei, despite the law requiring such appointments to be made by the President.

Recruitment process

According to the petitioners namely Gikenyi Philomena Nyakundi, Pauline Nduta, Linah Kingsley Shallum Nyakundi, Jamlick Orina and Agnes Wazuu the entire process of recruitment of the public servants lacked transparency and disregarded established procedures, statutory regulations, and constitutional requirements.

They state the whole process of appointing the officials were shrouded on secrecy.

“The respondents have not given to the public the criteria they used to arrive at shortlisted candidates,” the petitioners say.

In their suit papers, the petitioners argue that despite Persons Living with Disability (PWDs) having applied none was considered.

On his side Gikenyi contends that there was no transparency at all particularly concerning Kirwa’s appointment at MTRH.

He adds that MTRH appointments has led to skewed appointments where the one community takes a huge chunk of staff appointments leads to ethnic marginalisation, which is unfair labour practices contrary to article 41 and 232 of the constitution.

“Despite MTRH promoting itself as an equal opportunity employer, the shortlist for the CEO position included five candidates from a single region, potentially leading to an overrepresentation of a specific ethnicity in the hospital’s senior management,” the petitioners’ states.

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