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Court quashes Mercy Wanjau's appointment as CA boss

Friday November 15 2019

CA Centre in Nairobi.

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Centre in Nairobi. Labour Court has quashed the appointment of Mercy Wanjau as acting CA director general. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RICHARD MUNGUTI
By RICHARD MUNGUTI
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The Labour Court has quashed the appointment of members of the board of Communication Authority of Kenya.

Justice Byram Ongaya also quashed the appointment of Mercy Wanjau, to replace its former director general Francis Wangusi.

In the Judgment, Justice Ongaya said the appointments made by ICT CS Joseph Mucheru in July, did not comply with the constitutional procedures and provisions in the Public Service Commission Act, which requires competitive recruitment procedures and open interviews and vetting.

TRANSPARENT

The judge said the selection criteria must fit the constitutional and statutory transparent and accountable procedures, affording all men, women, persons with disability, marginalised groups, communities, and other diversities, an equal opportunity.

He said in the case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah that Mr Wangusi should return to CA for handover once a proper board is in place because “there is no established basis for his recall except for purposes of proper handover to the Board once it is properly and lawfully constituted”.

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The Judge said he will not write an extension contract of service for Mr Wangusi but it is for the CS, Public Service Commission and the Attorney General to make such appropriate decisions, which if deemed necessary, may entail the recall of Mr Wangusi or requesting the President to take such remedial measures in the interim.

Ms Wanjau was appointed in August 2019 to replace Mr Wangusi who has been at the helm of the authority since August 2012.

IRREGULARLY APPOINTED

Cofek, through lawyer Henry Kurauka, had argued that the CA board had irregularly appointed Ms Wanjau to replace Mr Wangusi in an acting capacity.

Mr Kurauka advanced arguments board was not properly constituted to undertake the recruitment of director-general and that any appointment made by ICT CS amounted to interference with the State agency’s independence.

But the CA board through senior counsel Prof Githu Muigai argued that Mr Wangusi's term expired after serving for two terms.

Prof Muigai stated the CS had the authority to appoint a new director-general given that Mr Wangusi had agreed to serve only until the end of his tenure.