The reappointment of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Irrigation Authority has been suspended by the court.
Lady Justice Hellen Wasilwa of the Employment and Labor Relations Court who issued the order has also set the hearing date as August 25,2020.
“I have suspended the re-appointment for a further term of 3 years with effect from August 1,2020 pending the hearing and determination of the suit before,” added Wasilwa.
The orders have been issued after Human Rights Activist Okiya Omatatah filed a petition in court challenging the said reappointment.
Omatatah claims that the purported reappointment of Gitonga Mugambi as the CEO of the Authority is invalid null and void because there is no valid Board in office since the terms of the independent members of the Board appointed under the repealed Act by the President pursuant to Section 7(3) of the State Corporations Act (Cap. 446).
“Gazette Notice Nos. 4422 and 4423 of the 31st May, 2016 expired, respectively, on 16th April 2018 and 1st October 2018. And no independent members have been appointed under subsections 9(1)(f), (g) and (h) of the Irrigation Act, 2019,” He added in court documents.
The Activist has added that the only independent Member of the Board is the Chairman, Eng. Joshua Toro, who was appointed by the President for a term of 3 years effective 9th January, 2019 via Gazette Notice No. 266 of 10th January, 2020 which was published on 5 | P a g e o f 2 2 17th January, 2020 in the special issue of Kenya Gazette Vol. CXXII – No. 9.
“All the other members of the Board are representatives of Government ministries and the Attorney General.,” he added.
According to Omatatah composition of the board of the Authority is provided under section 9 of the Irrigation Act, 2019.
“The Board is supposed to be composed of 9 members, yet it only has five members at the moment, and Section 3(4) of the Schedule to the Irrigation Act, 2019 provides that, “The quorum for the conduct of the business of the Board shall be seven members including the Chairperson or the person presiding.” He added.
The Activist adds that due to the above, the recommendation by the Board to the Cabinet Secretary for the reappointment of Mugambi was invalid as the Board could not raise a quorum to transact business.
Hence, the reappointment of Mugambi as the Authority’s CEO is irregular, unlawful, and unconstitutional.