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Storm brewing at Lake Victoria North Water agency

Monday April 06 2020
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Lake Victoria North Water Works Development Agency Board Chairman Julius Kones. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JUSTUS OCHIENG'

A storm is brewing at the Lake Victoria North Water Works Development Agency after two petitioners moved to the Employment and Labour Relations court in Kisumu seeking for the ouster of the agency’s board chairman Dr Julius Kones.

The duo; Mr Joseph Oyollo Imbuye and Godfrey Lumumba Cheti, residents of Kakamega County filed the petition under certificate of urgency citing that former Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui erred in appointing Dr Kones who is not a resident of the agency’s basin area.

INTEGRITY ISSUES

They also cited integrity issues in the appointment.

“In making the appointment, the 1st respondent (Water CS) violated mandatory provisions of section 66 of the Water Act which requires that all appointments to the board shall be made from the (Lake Victoria North) basin area,” the duo states in court documents.

“In particular, the 1st respondent (Water CS) purported to appoint the 3rd respondent (Dr Kones) to the state corporation while he is the immediate former MP for Konoin Constituency, in Bomet County, Rift Valley area of the Republic of Kenya,” they averred.

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They stated that pursuant to legal notice number 28 dated April 26, 2019, the Water CS determined the jurisdiction and territory to be served by the agency to be Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia, Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and Nandi Counties.

“The CS vide the gazette notice determined that Bomet County is within the territorial jurisdiction of Lake Victoria South Water Works Development Agency (LVNWWDA),” they stated further implying the illegality committed in Dr Kone’s appointment.

NO CHANGES

Nation also established that Attorney General Kihara Kariuki had issued an advisory to the Water CS over the matter but to date, no changes had been made. In his advisory dated May 28, 2019, the AG cited section 66 (1) (a) of the Water Act.

“The importance of the above provision is that any appointment outside the provision will be defective as pointed out in the communication. Kindly note that the ministry erred by appointing the chairperson through section 66 (1) (b) of the Act, which refers to the appointment of other board members,” Mr Kariuki wrote.

The AG had also advised for the amendment of the appointing instrument to align it with the act after the CS appointed five instead of four board members in addition to the Chairperson.

“The appointment of the members by the Ministry is accordingly outside the law,” the AG asserted.

ILLEGALITIES

On Monday, the petitioners said that from the forgoing, they demand that the incumbent Water CS Sicily Kariuki to move with speed and ensure illegalities committed by the past regime are addressed as per the law.

“As residents of Kakamega, we have a right to petition so that we are not marginalised in state appointments. What belongs to the Lake Victoria North basin should be left for us,” Mr Cheti said.

Mr Imbuye said: “We will follow the matter to the letter until the concerns of the people within the Lake Victoria North catchment area are addressed.”

Dr Kones on Monday said the board’s advocates were handling the matter.

“I am aware of the intrigues at the agency but for now let us leave it to the advocates,” Dr Kones told Nation on the phone.

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