Economy

Court revokes CS Macharia’s agency appointments over ethnicity

macharia

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Justice Nzioki wa Makau found it was unconstitutional for the government to appoint Mary Waithigieni Chege, Zachariah Karenge Mungai and Ronald Ndirangu Ndegwa as members of Namata Board.
  • Among the projects that the agency is overseeing is the implementation of the Sh5.6 billion Nairobi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route to support the city’s public commuter services.

The Labour Court has revoked a decision of Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia to appoint three people who are from one ethnic group to a State agency that is mandated to improve public transport in Nairobi.

Justice Nzioki wa Makau found it was unconstitutional for the government to appoint Mary Waithigieni Chege, Zachariah Karenge Mungai and Ronald Ndirangu Ndegwa as members of the Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Authority (Namata) Board.

Among the projects that the agency is overseeing is the implementation of the Sh5.6 billion Nairobi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route to support the city’s public commuter services and help ease traffic congestion.

Justice Makau, while ruling on a case filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), faulted the appointments by Mr Macharia for failure represent the diverse Kenyan ethnicity.

The appointments were announced to the public via a gazette notice dated February 5, 2021 and the appointees were to serve for a period of three years.

"The interested parties subject of this suit (Chege, Mungai and Ndegwa) are all from one ethnic community and do not represent the diverse fabric that is the Kenyan nation. Their appointment therefore smacks on the evils of old which Kenyans opted to do away with in the Constitution we took on for ourselves in 2010," said the judge.

He directed that the three appointees should cease holding their positions. He found the appointments had disregarded the national values espoused in the Constitution.

Namata was created by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017 through an executive order and was tasked with providing the metropolitan area with a world-class public transport system.

The authority covers Nairobi, Kiambu, Murang’a, Machakos, and Kajiado counties.

Namata is involved in improving the public transport system in Nairobi Metropolitan Area through the introduction and implementation of Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) comprising of Bus Rapid Transit System, Commuter Rail System and Non- Motorised Transport System.

Currently, it is undertaking the BRT project alignment along Thika Road from Ruiru to Kenyatta National Hospital through Nairobi the city centre.

The project is being undertaken by STECOL Corporation in joint venture with SMEDI.