Vetting of Ruto’s PS nominees to resume after court permits
The vetting of Principal Secretaries can now proceed after the Employment and Labour Relations Court yesterday dismissed three petitions challenging President William Ruto’s 51 nominees.
Justice Nduma Nderi ruled that petitions by Law Society of Kenya, activist Fredrick Bikeri and Dr Magare Gikenyi were filed prematurely and the court can only be approached once the National Assembly concludes the vetting process.
“This is a sacred mandate given to the House by the people of Kenya and the court must pay a difference to the House in that respect. Accordingly, the consolidated petitions have been filed prematurely,” judge ruled.
According to Justice Nderi, the petitioners must wait for the conclusion of that process which the National Assembly is now ceased of, since the said process is participatory. “The court only hopes that appropriate presentations were made to the National Assembly by members of the public in terms of the Act to complete that process,” Nderi said. The court had on November 16 issued orders stopping the vetting process following LSK application.
LSK had argued that the nomination does not consider regional and tribal balance, two-thirds gender principal, persons living with disabilities and youths contrary to the principles of good governance.
“Impugned list of principal secretaries, 13 are from the Kalenjin community from the Rift Valley region, and 13 others are from Central Kenya region to the detriment of the other 40 tribes and communities contrary to pluralism of the country and depicts regional imbalance,” LSK argued in court documents. Following the ruling, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula yesterday directed that vetting of the remaining PSs resume this morning.
Wetang’ula also directed that a report on the vetting exercise be tabled in the house tomorrow morning.
“I direct that the suspension of the vetting of persons nominated to serve as Principal Secretaries is hereby lifted. Committees are, therefore expected to resume the vetting process immediately,” he ruled.
The Speaker further directed that all Departmental Committees to conclude the vetting proceedings and approval hearings as soon as possible to allow for the conclusion of the process. Noting that the House will commence its long recess on December 2, it is expected that the committees will hasten the process and report to the House by end of the Thursday sitting to pave way for consideration of the various approval motions by the House.
Justice Nderi agreed with the National Assembly’s submission that the doctrine of separation of powers as provided for in the Constitution ought to be respected and upheld at all times.
In preliminary objections filed in court, National Assembly and Public Service Commission (PSC) wanted the suit struck out for lack of jurisdiction.
National Assembly had argued that the appointment and removal of Principal Secretaries is not a labour and employment issue, but a special constitutional innovation.
On the issue of jurisdiction that was raised by the National Assembly, PSC and some of the nominees, Justice Nderi said it partially succeeded for the reason that the petitions were filed prematurely.