The Labour court has stopped Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki from sacking 130 village administrators who were hired by his predecessor Samuel Ragwa.
The Nyeri Employment and Labour Relations Court also restrained the governor, together with the county public service board from advertising or recruiting new officials to the positions until a case filed by the administrators is determined.
The administrators moved to court through lawyer Davidson Warutere protesting that the county government had unlawfully dismissed them from service on grounds of a bloated wage bill.
The case was filed on Thursday and certified urgent by Justice Byram Ongaya, who heard that the administrators were sacked without being subjected to a fair hearing.
“They were appointed following a competitive recruitment upon advertisement of the posts of village administrators under the County Governments Act on permanent and pensionable basis. They were issued with termination letters indicating that their job positions were non-existent,” Lawyer Warutere told the court.
He said the positions are a creation of the Constitution and therefore the governor has no powers to abolish them.
The court heard that the administrative positions can only be quashed by Parliament.
“The governor complained about a bloated wage bill but the administrators are not responsible of it. He said they were taking a Sh200 million salary budget which is a flimsy ground,” the lawyer told the court.
The court heard that the dismissal is a plot to replace the administrators with the governor’s friends and campaigners who supported him in the last General Election.
“The move is mischievous and the applicants will suffer irreparable loss since they have bank loans which they service monthly,” the court heard.
The chairman of the County Public Service Board, Stephen Mitugo, was summoned to appear in court to explain why the administrators were dismissed from service.