The High Court has squashed the nomination of former Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi and former Isiolo Woman Representative Tiyah Galgalo to the National Land Commission.
In a ruling delivered on Thursday afternoon, Justice Hellen Wasilwa said the appointment of Ms Murugi and Ms Galgalo was irregular. The judge added that the selection panel for the nominees was improperly constituted.
The ruling now paves way for the President to swear in the other nominees namely lawyer Gerishom Otachi, former minister Kazungu Kambi, former Egerton University Vice-Chancellor James Tuitoek, Reginald Okumu, Hubbie Huseein Al-Haji and Alister Murimi Mutugi, whose appointment was not quashed.
Activist Okiya Omtatah, the petitioner in the case, termed the ruling as a mockery of justice.
“This is the worst day in the jurisprudence of this country. Here, we have a court deciding that the selection panel was improperly constituted but going on to okay its outcome. I have already filed an appeal,” Mr Omtatah told Nation.
In his petition, Mr Omtatah argued that the selection panel did not publish the results of the interviews indicating how the candidates had scored and failed to publish the names of the two candidates it nominated to President Uhuru Kenyatta for appointment as Chairperson of the NLC.
He further accused the selection panel of failing to publish the names of the 16 candidates it recommended for appointment as members of the commission.
Mr Omtatah also argued that the President appointed Ms Murugi and Ms Galgalo to be members of the commission yet they were never shortlisted or interviewed for the position of member.
The pair were interviewed for the position of chairperson but were unsuccessful.
Although the court found out that the President should have included a representative from the NGO council in the selection panel, it went on to blame the impasse on internal wrangles in which different factions could not agree on one nominee.
“The fact that the selection panel proceeded to act and discharge its mandate in the absence of other expected members of the panel does not render the entire recruitment and appointment process it undertook invalid, null and void ab initio by that very reason,” the judge ruled.
Other than not being appointed to a position in which she was not interviewed for, the court ruled that Ms Galgalo did not have a compliance certificate.
“I note that indeed it was excess of its power for parliament to bend back and ask a nominee to go and get document to qualify her for nomination when the duty of parliament was to find out her suitability for nomination as presented before her. This was indeed improper exercise of parliamentary power, which should be exercised without regard to matters beyond its mandate to vet the nominees,” the judgement reads.