The Employment and Labour Court Wednesday suspended plans to establish the office of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) pending the determination of a petition filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).
This happened on the day the Public Service Commission (PSC) invited applications for the position that should run up to October 27. This came weeks after the PSC asked for views on the creation of the CAS position as requested by President William Ruto.
The job advertisement requires applicants to hold a university.
The LSK says in the petition that plans to establish the office of the CAS is likely to cause financial strain to many Kenyans as they will be forced to cater for extra wages for jobs that can be done by an already established office of the Principal Secretary (PS).
The court further heard that the Public Service Commission (PSC) has invited views from Kenyans but the advertisement by the PSC failed to provide crucial information to facilitate informed participation. The advertisement, LSK said, was inadequate to elicit informed views from the public.
“In the interim, to allow service upon the respondent an order of stay of implementation of the process of establishment of the officer the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Public Service be and is hereby issued,” Justice Monica Mbaru said.
The court directed the LSK to serve the Attorney General and the PSC by Friday and head back to court on October 24 for directions.
LSK chief executive officer Florence Muturi said although the constitution gives the President powers to establish offices in the public service with the recommendations of the PSC, it should adhere to the principle of public participation, and bear in mind prudent and economic use of resources.
In the communication, the functions of the proposed position include providing liaison with the National Assembly and the Senate, providing liaison with the county governments on matters of concurrent mandate and common interest, enabling inter-ministerial co-ordination, representing the Cabinet Secretary (CS) at any meeting as instructed by the CS and executing any other duties as instructed by the CS.
The LSK says public participation is not merely a formality but an exercise that must be aimed at collating the views of the public in decision-making. The advert according to LSK is hollow and only meant to sanitise an otherwise illegal and irregular process.
“For the said positions to be legally established, the press release calling for public views must be properly enriched to provide the public with relevant information including the effect on the public coffers,” the LSK said.
Ms Muturi says there is likely to be duplicity of roles between the PS and the CAS, which would further bloat the public wage bill without corresponding improvement of service delivery.
“Without such information, the petitioners contend, as an example, that it is impossible for a reasonable person to differentiate roles of the Principal Secretary as established under Article 155 of the constitution and those of the CAS as intended to be established,” she said.
Speaking in Eldoret on Sunday, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the new government will reward their loyalists first in government appointments before considering others.
Later the PSC revised a list of persons eyeing the job of principal secretaries from 477 to 585, with new persons including politicians who lost in the August 9 polls.
The PSC, however, said the list was revised to increase inclusivity with regard to gender, marginalised and minority groups, the youth and persons living with disability.