Counties

Judge rejects Baringo’s bid to halt health jobs lawsuit

baringo-mogotio

The Covid-19 isolation and treatment centre in Mogotio, Baringo County. PHOTO | CHEBOITE KIGEN | NMG

Summary

  • In an application, the County Public Service Board wanted the case dismissed for being in the wrong forum, arguing that the dispute ought to have been lodged at the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
  • But Justice Edward Muriithi found that since the petition did not have disputes relating to or arising out of employment between an employer and an employee, the Labour Court has no jurisdiction over the same.

The High Court has declined a request to strike out a petition filed against Baringo County for recruiting health workers who are related to senior officials of the devolved unit.

In an application, the County Public Service Board wanted the case dismissed for being in the wrong forum, arguing that the dispute ought to have been lodged at the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

But Justice Edward Muriithi found that since the petition did not have disputes relating to or arising out of employment between an employer and an employee, the Labour Court has no jurisdiction over the same.

“The Employment and Labour Relations Court has no jurisdiction to deal with the matters raised in this petition. It is the High Court in its constitutional jurisdiction to interpret the Constitution and enforce the Bill of Rights under Article 165 (3) of the Constitution that has the power to deal with the petitioners’ complaint,” he said.

Seven petitioners led by Henry Kigen sued the board claiming irregular recruitment of personnel by appointing relatives of the board members and other persons in a position of influence.

In their court documents, the petitioners argued that the board’s secretary Samson Kibii had appointed his sister Joyce Jematian as laboratory technician without required qualification. They claim that the candidate was neither shortlisted nor attended an interview.

Another contested recruitment is that of Meshack Maluk, who was hired as lab technologist but his profession was applied biology. According to the petitioners, the candidate is not qualified for the job.

The petitioners have claimed that Bartabwa MCA Reuben Chepsongol’s second wife, who graduated in 2018, was appointed as a nurse.

They also cited Tenges MCA Sylus Tochim’s nephew Korir Johnson Kipruto who was appointed as an assistant nutritionist. The employee graduated in 2019.

“The County Public service board chose to go against the national values that led to not picking merited, qualified and experienced medical professionals who have been in the field for long as from 2002, for example, Christine Jerop Chelimo,” reads the petition.

Appoint interns

They want the court to issue an order restraining the appointees from assuming to their areas of deployment or work stations pending hearing and determination of the petition.

Besides, they want the court to direct for a repeat of the recruitment process and that the county government be compelled to appoint interns.

Justice Muriithi directed the amendment of the petition to strike out the Governor and County Attorney General as respondents in the petition.

The petition will be mentioned on October 21.