The Labour Court has stopped Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria from replacing businessman Peter Munga as chairman of Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company (Muwasco).
Justice Byram Ongaya has also temporarily revoked Wa Iria’s appointment of Joseph Kimura as Munga's replacement.
While stopping the implementation of a gazette notice appointing Kimura, the judge further prohibited the Governor from interfering with the Muwasco board of directors, its staff and its operations.
The orders were issued on Wednesday after Mr Munga sued the Governor for attempting to end his control of the firm.
Justice Ongaya, while certifying Munga’s application as urgent, directed the Murang'a division OCPD to enforce the order by ensuring the business tycoon continues to serve as chairman with no interference.
Through lawyer Anthony Kabathi, the former Equity Bank chairman said Wa Iria arbitrarily ended his tenure, and irregularly, unlawfully and unconstitutionally appointed Kimura.
He added that he was denied the right to be heard and was not given reasons for the termination.
The lawyer further said that Munga's dethronement was designed to hold the Muwasco board hostage "so as to create a platform for corrupt and manipulative machinations".
“By orchestrating a hostile coup against the petitioner, the respondent (Wa Iria) has failed to uphold the crucial tenets of the rule of law and respect for human rights," Mr Kabathi said.
"Besides, he has fallen short of the principles of good governance and accountability."
The court also heard that Mr Munga has, over the years, been a responsible and dedicated servant of the company in the provision of water and sanitation services to residents.
“He has overseen improved water supply thereby substantially reducing water shortages, which were an endemic challenge,” Mr Kabathi noted.
The lawyer also told the court that Mr Munga steered the county's growth through extensive new water connections.
He oversaw the establishment of a water bottling plant and a pioneer Water school for the training of technicians.
“He has steered the Company to bag prestigious local and international governance awards and attract donor funding,” the lawyer noted.
Mr Kibathi also pointed out that the petitioner and other stakeholders are alarmed by "deliberate machinations by the Governor to unduly interfere and usurp the role of Muwasco’s board.
The petition will be heard on September 3, by when the Governor should have filed his response.