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Blow for Nandi Governor Stephen Sang as court quashes CECs appointments

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang has suffered a significant setback in his bid to improve service delivery after an Eldoret Court revoked the appointment of the eight members of the county executive committee (CEC) and ordered fresh advertisements for the positions due to irregularities in the recruitment process.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court while issuing the orders, ruled that the county boss had violated the law in the re-appointment of the eight county executives who served in his first term in office without being subjected to fresh vetting by the county assembly.

Judge Maurine Onyango issued the orders following a petition filed by one Onesimus Kimeli challenging the constitution of the members of the county executive appointed by Governor Sang after he was re-elected for the second term during the 2022 polls.

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The county executives affected by the court ruling are Dr Kiplimo Lagat (Agriculture), Dr Philemon Bureti (Lands), Ruth Koech (Health), Eng Drice Ronoh (Transport), Alfred Lagat, Hillary Serem (Finance), Isaiah Keter and Scholasticah Tuwei (Education).

The petitioner argued that the Governor re-appointed the eight without being subjected to vetting by the county assembly and that the executive did not adhere to the third gender rule in accordance with the Constitution.

“There is no provision for the endorsement of the outgoing executive committee members by the new county assembly. If they are to stay in office they must get a fresh mandate by being nominated, approved, and appointed in the manner set out in the section of the Act. The governor having come into the office after a fresh mandate by the people through the vote, must also subject the executive committee members to an afresh approval by the representatives of the people who have come into office under a fresh mandate through elections,” said Judge Onyango in her ruling.

According to the court ruling, the re-appointment of the CECs was done without allowing the public to vet them to satisfy whether they met the academic, and moral obligations instead the governor handpicked the members of his cabinet, locking out competent individuals who were interested in the positions.

On gender parity, the court found that out of the eight members of county executives listed as interested parties, only two of them were female thus contravening the constitution on the two-third gender principle.

“The governor was bound to promote gender parity by adhering to the two-thirds gender rule and that non-compliance on the same rendered the nominations both unconstitutional and unlawful . . . I accordingly find and declare the nominations and subsequent appointments unconstitutional and unlawful and therefore null and void,” ruled Judge Onyango.

While quashing the appointments of the executives, the judge ordered Governor Sang to advertise afresh the CEC positions to serve in his administration.

The second-term county boss was further ordered to meet the costs for the petitioner. The petitioner had requested the court to grant him Sh2 million on costs.