•Activist Okiya Omtatah's petition to bar former KU vice-chancellor from chairing the institution's hospital board thrown out
•Court rules that the President made the appointment in good faith
Prof Olive Mugenda remains Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital's non-executive chairperson after the Labour Court yesterday dismissed a petition against her appointment.
The court said President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Cabinet Secretary had acted in good faith. The magistrate, however, said that if the appointment was proved to be unconstitutional, it can be quashed.
Activist Okiya Omtatah had challenged the appointments of Mugenda and board members Kithinji Kiragu and Gladys Ogallo on the ground that lawful process was not followed.
In the petition filed on Tuesday, Omtatah wanted the court to suspend the April 1 Gazette notices appointing the three.
The three will serve for three years from April 1, 2019.
Omtatah also wanted the court to issue an injunction prohibiting Mugenda, who is a former KU vice-chancellor, Kiragu and Ogallo from serving in the board until the matter is determined.
He said the appointees had not been subjected to a fair, open, competitive, merit-based and inclusive recruitment process.
“The offices of chairperson and of member of the KUTRRH are public offices in the public service, subject to the Public Service Commission and must be filled through a fair, open, competitive, merit-based, and inclusive recruitment process,” Omtatah petitioned.
He said the President unlawfully handpicked and appointed the professor. “Prof Mugenda is not qualified for appointment to be chairperson of Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital because she is still an employee of Kenyatta University, therefore, she cannot sit on the KUTRRH board where the Kenyatta University Council is represented, and the university’s vice chancellor is a member. This creates conflict of interest,” he argued.
“She is a pensioner as a former VC of Kenyatta University but her appointment to the hospital’s board (and, earlier, to the JSC) entitles her to multiple salaries.”
He said she has no special knowledge and skills that can override the bar in government policy.
Omtatah says Mugenda does not meet the integrity threshold as a result of proceedings he had filed before the Judicial Service Commission accusing her of colluding with Justice Monica Mbaru to defeat the course of justice.
The case will be heard at the Employment and Labour Relations Court.