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Registrar of Trade Unions jailed for contempt in KMPDU case

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has delivered a verdict, sentencing the Registrar of Trade Unions, Beatrice Mathenge, to one month in jail.

The ruling was issued during a court proceeding on November 3, 2023, at the Milimani Law Courts, offering Mathenge a choice of a KSh 100,000 fine or a month’s imprisonment.

Justice Byram Ongaya’s ruling declared:

“The Registrar of Trade Unions, one Ms. Beatrice Mathenge, is hereby found in contempt of the Court’s Order in the Judgment delivered herein on 10.02.2023 by the Honourable Justice Maureen Onyango, requiring her to register the appellant’s officials as set out in form Q submitted to her office for registration on 13.06.2022.”

Reacting to the verdict, Kenya Medical Practitioners’ Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General Davji Atellah celebrated the decision as a triumph for Kenyan doctors.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Change takes a long time, but it does happen. The registration of the new Union officials has taken too long by the office of the registrar and other forces that were hell-bent on frustrating the union. With justice served, it’s the doctors of Kenya who have won,” he said in a statement.

Beatrice Mathenge faced charges of contempt of court in a case initiated by the KMPDU.

In an affidavit submitted by Atellah, KMPDU informed the court that the new officials were duly elected on Saturday, June 11, 2022, and their details were communicated to Mathenge for registration on Monday, June 13, 2022.

However, Mathenge failed to comply with this request, leading the KMPDU to seek legal intervention at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi, where the court ruled in their favor.

Following the court’s judgment, KMPDU formally requested Mathenge to fulfill her obligation and register its officials in accordance with the court orders.

In the court documents seen by Nairobi News, KMPDU advocated for the Registrar of Trade Unions to be committed to civil jail for six months for acting in contempt of the judgment.

In his ruling, Justice Byram Ongaya directed Mathenge to appear before the court on Monday, September 25, 2023, to demonstrate compliance with the earlier orders.

Subsequently, in a ruling issued on Wednesday, October 25, Justice Byram Ongaya issued a warrant for the arrest and presentation of Beatrice Mathenge, who had been found in contempt of the court’s order in the judgment delivered on February 10, 2023.

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