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High Court suspends move to disband Waiguru's press unit

Friday March 20 2020
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Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru whose Directorate of Liaison and Communications was abolished by the county assembly after the passing of a motion tabled by Tebere Ward MCA Gudson Muchina. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOSEPH WANGUI

The High Court has suspended implementation of a resolution passed by Kirinyaga County Assembly directing the public service board to disband Governor Anne Waiguru’s Directorate of Liaison and Communications.

Justice Weldon Korir suspended the ward representatives’ decision after the county government filed a constitutional petition arguing that the Assembly has to powers to create or abolish an office.

In the petition, the devolved unit observed that it is the county's executive committee that can determine the organisation of the county government including establishing, varying or abolishing any department.

USURPING POWERS

“In directing the abolition of the said office, the assembly has contravened provisions of the Constitution by usurping powers of the county executive committee and the County Public Service Board being mandated by the law to propose the abolition of a department or an office in the county government structure,” stated lawyer Waweru Gatonye, for the petitioner.

The lawyer submitted that the adoption of the House motion will render the employees of the directorate redundant without following the due process.

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Justice Korir, after certifying the matter as urgent, directed that devolved unit to serve the county assembly with the petition which will be mentioned on Thursday next week before the duty judge for further directions.

Should the case fail to be mentioned next week, the judge allowed the county government to fix a fresh date and notify the county assembly within seven days from the date the courts will resume normal operations.

The courts have since scaled down their operations as a measure to mitigate spread of the Covid-19 in the country.

Early this week, the County Assembly passed a motion abolishing the governor’s Directorate of Liaison and Communications on grounds that it was a propaganda tool.

FORMAL PROPOSAL

The court’s order means that the County Public Service Board will not present a formal proposal to the House on disbandment of the directorate as it had been directed by the MCAs after they passed the motion.

In their decision, the MCAs said the directorate was not serving the interests of the residents and the county government. The motion was tabled by Tebere Ward Representative Gudson Muchina.

The MCA, while moving the motion, told the House that the staff attached to the directorate were attacking the ward reps on social media over their oversight role instead of focusing on development issues of the region.

MISLEADING RESIDENTS

While debating on the motion, the MCAs accused the Ms Waiguru-led Executive of allowing staff in the directorate to continue misleading residents on development matters in Kirinyaga.

Baragwi MCA David Mathenge, who chairs the House Budget and Appropriations committee, said there was no need for such a directorate.

"The directorate is incompetent and it should be disbanded and the staff working there sent packing," said Mr Mathenge.

But the county government observed that the House resolution was unlawful as the assembly lack powers under the law to direct the board to abolish an office already established in compliance with the law.

It argued that the assembly only has the power under the provisions of section 62 of the County Government Act to approve the proposal by the board for the establishment or abolition of an office.

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