Egg in CS Mucheru’s face moments after he inaugurated new CA Board members

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru with the new Communications Authority Board
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru with the new Communications Authority Board

Four members appointed to the Board of the Communications Authority (CA) have temporarily been barred from performing their duties.

Labour Court Judge Byrum Onganya issued the order on Friday moments after ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru had inaugurated them into office.

The CS appointed Mahmoud Mohamed Noor, Paul Muraguri Mureithi, Laura Chite and Jackson Kiprotich Kemboi on July 19, 2019 through a Gazette notice.

They are to serve for a three-year term, however, an application filed on Friday by activist Okiya Omtata said Mucheru appointed them without following the procedures set out by the constitution.

“The place and venue of the interviews was not advertised or publicized; interview sheets and the scores of each interviewed candidate were not advertised or publicized; and the composition of the interview panel was not advertised or publicized, “ Omtata claims.

He argues that the requirement for transparency is a constitutional imperative that cannot be ignored.

According to Omtata, the CS together with the Communications Authority appointed the four without subjecting them to a fair, open, competitive, merit based, and inclusive recruitment process.

He further states that any member of the CA Board must be recruited by the Public Service Commission through a foolproof process that meets the Constitutional threshold of being open, fair, competitive, and merit-based but inclusive.

He argues that the vacancies on the Board were not advertised; no list of applicants was not advertised or publicized; no list of shortlisted candidates was advertised or publicized; the public were not invited and were not given the opportunity to comment on shortlisted candidates.

Omtata further argues in appointing the four Mucheru purported to exercise the powers conferred upon him by Parliament pursuant to section 6 (1) (e) of the Kenya Information and Communications Act No. 2 of 1998.

“The Petitioner posits that the Public Service Commission has not delegated, in writing, any of its functions and powers to the 1st Respondent pursuant to Article 234(5), to enable the Cabinet Secretary appoint persons to the Board of CA. Hence, the 1st Respondent purported to exercise powers he does not have under the Constitution of Kenya,”Omtatah argued.

He now wants the court to declare that handpicking and appointing individuals to the CA Board without subjecting them to an open, transparent, fair, competitive, and merit-based but inclusive recruitment process, and without the involvement of the people, violates Article 34 (5) of the Constitution.

According to the Kenya Information and Communications Act 1998, the CA board comprises a chairman appointed by the President, seven members appointed by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT, and Principal Secretaries from Ministries of ICT, the National Treasury and that of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

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