The embattled chairman of the Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company (Muwasco), Peter Munga, has suffered yet another blow after Murang’a High Court declined to issue conservatory orders restraining Governor Mwangi Wa Iria from replacing him at the water firm.
The application had been filed by petitioners Mercy Kimwe, Antony Mutiria Mwangi and Jane Nyambura, represented by lawyer Theophilus Kamwaro.
They had challenged the gazette notice by Governor Wa Iria that replaced Mr Munga with Prof Joseph Kimura, saying laid down procedures were not followed.
They said no advertisement was made when replacing Mr Munga and that public participation was not done, adding that the gazette notice that terminated his contract was not known in law and was illegal.
“Muwasco is run by the board of directors who are nominated by the stakeholders. The governor’s appointee is a stranger since he is not a director and we don’t know how best he is to offer critical service to consumers,” Mr Kamwaro told High Court Judge Kanyi Kimondo.
The petitioners’ prayers were supported by Mr Munga’s lawyer, Mr Kabathi, who said the businessman was the bona fide chairman of Muwasco and that he was elected in a competitive forum.
“For the election of the chairman, stakeholders are invited for a meeting, a select committee formed to vet the nominees and then the annual general meeting to endorse (the) board of directors and the election of the chairman. None was followed when replacing the embattled chairman,” he said.
But Governor Wa Iria’s lawyer, Ng’ang’a Mbugua, dismissed the petitioners’ prayers, accusing them of being proxies of both Muwasco and Mr Munga. He told the court that they did not demonstrate how their rights to water had been affected.
He said the petitioners were not genuine and were being used to protect the interests of Muwasco and that of tycoon maintaining that they did not show the court how their consumer rights had been prejudiced.
“There is no prayer sought for resumption of water to the water consumers and this shows the petitioners are not genuine since the prayers are for the benefit of Muwasco and Mr Munga who are coveting the functions of Murang’a county government,” he said.
Mr Mbugua urged the court not to issue the conservatory orders sought since, despite Mr Munga having been replaced two months ago, water has been running in the taps of the locals without disruption.
The lawyer accused Mr Munga of “forum shopping” in order to continue serving at Muwasco.
NO CONSERVATORY ORDERS
After a four-hour sitting on Friday, the judge said he would issue a ruling on the application on November 1, a move that attracted pleas by Mr Munga’s lawyer to issue the conservatory orders.
“A lot can happen between the days and I plead with you to issue the orders because we hear there might be the take-over on Monday at Muwasco,” Mr Kabathi pleaded with the court.
But the judge stood his ground, saying that he will only rule on the matter on November 1.
Mr Munga has gone to court several times to seek orders to stop the governor from replacing him.
Two weeks ago, the labour court struck out his petition challenging his removal from the chairmanship of Muwasco, a move that led to him filing the suit at the Court of Appeal.
Last year, the Murang’a High Court dismissed an application filed by water companies challenging Mr Wa Iria’s intention to take over their management and his establishment of caretaker committees.