CA settles employment dispute with its boss Wangusi


Communication Authority chief executive Francis Wangusi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Thursday ended a feud with chief executive Francis Wangusi after it signed an agreement not to interfere with his contract.

The deal, which was reached between Mr Wangusi and the CA board, has been given the stamp of legality with its filing in court.

Registration of the consent at the High Court was the final settlement of a dispute that started on January 12 last year after the board sent Mr Wangusi on a three-month compulsory leave, arguing that they needed him out of office to allow an independent audit of the regulator’s hiring processes.

As part of the settlement, Mr Wangusi has agreed to drop a contempt of court application he had filed against the CA board and the ICT ministry for defying a court directive that allowed him to return to office.

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Hellen Wasilwa adopted the consent as an order of the court and marked the case as settled – ending one of the most protracted executive employment disputes in a State agency.

The consent dated September 20 was signed by Igeria and Ngugi Advocates on behalf of the CA and Prof Tom Ojienda and Associates for Mr Wangusi.

The development heals an acrimonious relationship that characterised the board’s engagement with Mr Wangusi, which also saw him sue his junior for insubordination.

Mr Wangusi moved to court shortly after his suspension and obtained an order reinstating him to the job pending determination of the suit.

He had described the decision to kick him out as unreasonable and illegal, arguing that it was the product of victimisation for disagreements on unrelated matters, including the parent ministry’s interference in the running of the authority.

Mr Wangusi claimed that the CA board wanted to interfere with the agency’s operations because of individual private interests, which he had resisted.

The dispute later turned dramatic when a standoff ensued with the blocking of Mr Wangusi from accessing the CA’s premises, leading to the filing of contempt proceedings.

Mr Wangusi was ultimately allowed back in office in February where he has since been performing his duties – initially with difficulty but things appeared to have smoothened out in recent months.

Earlier upon his return, Mr Wangusi claimed that his junior, Christopher Kemei, who had been appointed acting director-general following his suspension, had usurped his powers rendering him irrelevant despite his return to office by a court order.

Mr Kemei is the agency’s director of licensing, compliance and standards.

Mr Wangusi claimed that Mr Kemei continued to exercise executive authority – making decisions and approvals that are reserved for the director-general even after he was reinstated, which the board denied.

Mr Wangusi has been at the helm of the telecoms sector regulator since 2012 when he took over from Charles Njoroge.