Economy

Duo sues Mucheru for ‘handpicking’ CA board members

JOE

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has been sued over the appointment of the board of directors without subjecting the positions to competition.
  • The petitioners told the High Court that ICT Cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru handpicked the four board members, contrary to the law.

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has been sued over the appointment of the board of directors without subjecting the positions to competition.

The petitioners told the High Court that ICT Cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru handpicked the four board members, contrary to the law.

In the case, Dr Salesio Mbogo and Joel Itube challenged the appointment of Mahmoud Mohamed Noor, Paul Muraguri Mureithi, Jackson Kiprotich Kemboi and Laura Chite, saying the positions were not filled competitively and on merit.

The four were appointed in a gazette notice published on July 12.

They said no vacancy was declared in the Kenya Gazette or on the official website of the ministry and there was no selection panel for the purpose of selecting suitable candidates.

“The decision to appoint the interested parties unilaterally without a competitive process outrageously violates the citizenry right to equal benefit and protection of the law,” the petition stated.

Justice Jairus Ngaah certified the case as urgent and directed their lawyer Adrian Kamotho to file the substantive case within seven days and serve it upon the regulator, ICT Cabinet secretary and the four members of the board whose appointment is being challenged.

Mr Kamotho said the law that would have allowed the CS to handpick the members of the board was quashed last year.

He said in a judgment, the High Court declaration section 6 (1) (e) of the Kenya Information and Communications Act does not empower the minister to handpick and appoint persons to the Communications Authority of Kenya board, without subjecting them to a fair, open, competitive, merit-based and inclusive recruitment process and without involving Public Service Commission.

“Accordingly, the subsisting operative law with regard to the appointment of the member of the board of the fifth interested party is the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 as amended in 2013,” he said.

The lawyer said the law requires the regulator to be independent and free of control by government, political or commercial interests in the exercise of its powers and functions.

Mr Kamotho says the insistence by Mr Mucheru to unlawfully appoint the board members discloses “vested interests and a stealth conspiracy to capture and control” the regulator.

Justice Ngaah directed the case to be heard on October 19.