- CS picked former Konoin MP Julius Kones to chair LVNWWDA board yet the appointee doesn't come from Lake Victoria North basin
- Petitioner says Chelugui appointed six members to the board instead of five as stipulated by law
Water CS Simon Chelugui is under fire over recent appointments to the Lake Victoria North Water Works Development Agency.
Emmanuel Buchichi, a resident of Lake Victoria North basin, has petitioned the CS to revoke the appointments claiming they breach the law and amount to abuse of office.
But the CS has defended his action, telling the Star on Wednesday there is nothing irregular with the appointments.
Through Osundwa and Co Advocates, Buchichi claims the CS did not follow the law and the recruitment process was not fair, competitive and inclusive.
He demands that the CS revokes the gazette notice appointing the six members to the board of LVNWDA, vowing to challenge the matter in court.
“Your actions fail to meet the muster of legal validity and the impugned gazette notice is illegal null and void. You clearly exceeded your authority,” Buchichi says in the petition.
Chelugui picked former Konoin MP Julius Kones to chair the LVNWWDA board for a term of three years.
Also appointed to the membership of the board are Joan Maiyo, Manyala Keah, Mediatrice Wangira, Alfred Khangati and Douglas Kiplimo.
Buchichi said that whereas the Water Act provides that the CS appoints five members to the board, the CS defied the provision when he gazetted six members.
The Act provides that all members appointed to the board must be residents of counties within the basin. But two of the appointees, according to the petition, do not come from the basin.
Section 66 (1) of the Act states: "Each water works development agency shall consist of— (a) a chairperson, who shall be appointed by the Cabinet Secretary from a county within the basin area; (b) four other members who shall be appointed by the Cabinet Secretary from counties within the basin area."
The counties that fall within the Lake Victoria North basin are Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Busia, Uasin Gishu, Trans-Nzoia and parts of Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet.
The total coverage area of the board’s mandate is 15,356 sq. km, with an estimated population of about seven million.
Kones, whom the CS has picked to serve as chairman, hails from Bomet county and served as Konoin MP in the 10th parliament. Just like the CS, Kiplimo, hails from Baringo county.
“You will of course appreciate that by no stretch of the imagination can either Bomet or Baringo counties be said to be anywhere within the vicinity of the Lake Victoria North basin area,” Buchichi notes.
Reached for comment, Chelugui defended the appointments saying the two appointees are all staying in Eldoret with their families.
“There is a transition clause which allows appointment of more members to the board. These members were gazetted before I gazette the operationalisation of the Water works, ” Chelagui said on phone.
Buchichi wants CS to revoke the entire Gazette Notice No 1242 of February 8, 2019 and where necessary cancel and recall all letters of appointment.
“Take notice that should you fail to comply with both of our client’s demands within twenty-four hours of your receipt of this epistle, we have firm and mandatory instructions to approach the constitutional court with a petition to invalidate your subject appointments without further reference to you,” the petitioner's lawyers say.