The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru has extended orders temporarily reinstating four Nyandarua County executive committee members (CECs) earlier sacked by Governor Francis Kimemia.
Justice Monica Mbaru Monday directed that the interim orders reinstating the four county chiefs remain in force pending delivery of a ruling on the case on October 9, 2019.
The interim orders, which were issued on August 27 by Justice Byram Ongaya in Nairobi, directed that the four executives remain in office and continue enjoying the salaries and all benefits entitled to them.
The four – Faith Mbugua (Education, Gender Affairs, Culture and Social Services), Rose Wamuiya (Industrialisation, Trade and Cooperatives), Simon Ng’ang’a (Water, Environment and Natural Resources) and Kariuki Mbataru (Public Administration and ICT) – were dropped from the county executive on August 21 after Governor Kimemia declined to renew their contracts.
But they filed a suit before the Labour court in Nairobi challenging their sacking which they termed as illegal and a violation of their right to fair administrative practices.
According to the officers, the decision by the governor to fire them through the media at midnight was wrong and unfair.
Justice Ongaya in his ruling ordered that the status quo remains and also barred the governor from replacing the county officials.
While arguing his case, Governor Kimemia defended his decision saying that it was informed by the need to improve service delivery for the residents.
Through lawyer Peter Wanyama, the governor said the executives were non-performers and needed to be replaced.
“The governor has the constitutional powers to fire the executives at pleasure because he has a legal and political mandate to undertake for the people who elected him. The officers were sacked for poor performance,” said Mr Wanyama.
He further urged the court not to reinstate the officers saying that they had lost the trust of the governor.
According to Mr Wanyama, the officers have grounded the functioning of the county executive committee by causing a quorum hitch after failing to turn up for meetings.
But Mr Clifford Odhiambo, while defending the CECs, dismissed the claims by the governor saying that he failed to follow the necessary labour laws while firing the officers.