Bernard Njiraini/ NMG
NAIROBI, Kenya May 31- A judge has revoked the appointments of Chief Executive Officers at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and chairman of the National Standards Council (NSC).
Bernard Njiraini and Bernard Ngore were slated for the two positions respectively.
Justice Maureen Onyango of the Employment and Labour Relations Court revoked the two appointments, stating that officials were handpicked contrary to the law, yet the process should be open to public participation.
The judge also quashed appointments of members of the board of directors of the NSC saying the recruitment was not subjected to public participation.
The board members included Mary Wanja Matu, Helen Kabeti, Fouzia Abdirahman, Patrick Musiu, Edward Njoroge, Eric Mungai, Gilbert Lang’at and Rogers Ochako.
The judge directed the Cabinet Secretary of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Betty Maina and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki to ensure that the new chairperson and new independent members of NSC are appointed strictly in compliance with the constitution and national legislation.
“A declaration be and is hereby issued that the appointment of the first respondent, on the recommendation of the National Standards Council, of Bernard Njiinu Njiraini as the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Bureau of Standards, was invalid, null and void ab initio,” said Justice Onyango.
Maina had revoked the appointment of Ngore but he moved back to court and obtained temporary orders, allowing him to stay at NSC.
The official accused the CS of violating the law by illegally degazetting him as the chairman of the NSC, without notice, or affording him an opportunity to be heard, or giving him reasons for the decision.
Through a gazette notice on November 14, 2019, the CS appointed the members and the chairman but the decision was challenged by Okiya Omtatah who argued that the officials were not subjected to a transparent and merit-based process.
Omtatah further claimed that Njiraini came in the sixth position during the interviews for the job, and hence did not deserve the position.
The CS also named Ngore as the chairperson of NSC for a period of three years and revoked the appointment of Ken Wathome Mwatu.
The officials, however, defended their appointments, saying they have the knowledge and expertise to handle the jobs.
The activist argued that Mwatu was a presidential appointee and the CS cannot purport to revoke such an appointment because she cannot override the President.
“There is absolutely no way that the Cabinet secretary could validly override the President’s appointment,” he said.