• The government is staring in at a possible suit challenging appointment of CAS, if not done the right way.
• Subsequently, it is prudent that the President’s advisers do proper homework on public servants procedures.
The High Court decision to stop vetting of principal secretaries awaiting determination of case filed by the Law Society of Kenya is a strong statement that the Judiciary is independent.
The suit by LSK states that the nomination of 51 PSs from the list of 477 shortlisted candidates has been discriminatory in total disregard to the provisions of the Article 250(4) of the Constitution. The LSK has named Attorney General, Parliament and Public Service Commission as respondents in the case.
This order is a big test for President William Ruto. Whichever way the case is determined, it will change how he handles future appointments.
Stephen Muli one of the petitioners, pointed out that 13 people each from the Rift valley and Central were appointed to the exclusion of 40 ethnic communities.
Kenya is a diverse society and every community wants to be part of the national cake. The promulgation of the 2010 Constitution heralded a new dispensation of equality and access to national resources.
From the petition on the PSs appointments, 26 people are from two communities. It would not be early to say Ruto has failed the ethnicity test. From the Kenyan political demography, Ruto was voted for in all counties. Therefore, it is expected that all 43 Kenyan communities should have a stake in the 51 PS slots.
One essential question that comes to mind is, did President Ruto learn from his predecessors’ mistakes?
Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta directives were on several occasions challenged in court by aggrieved Kenyans. He appointed Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) to reward cronies. The court termed the appointments illegal dur to lack of public participation in their establishment. He never reversed the CAS appointments.
Moreover, Uhuru refused to swear in six Court of Appeal judges despite a court order requiring him to do so. Immediately after his swearing-in, President Ruto appointed the judges.
The slap on Uhuru’s face was when the Supreme Court termed his pet, the Building Bridges Initiative null and void. This ruling was not so good for President Kenyatta and he lost popularity amongst many Kenyans who saw BBI as draining the taxpayers’ money.
With only few months in his regime, Ruto finds himself in a tight corner, which he could have avoided if he was faithful to the Constitution.
On several occasions, Ruto promised Judiciary independence. Unlike his predecessor who defied court orders, it is expected that Ruto will be true to his words and respect court rulings. The country can be saved of many legal suits if the government will be faithful to the Constitution.
The Constitution was put in place to guide the government and citizenry on how to run daily affairs.
By and large it is important to avoid litigations where necessary since it costs time and money.
With majority of Kenyans aware of their basic rights, it is time for President Ruto to rethink about his public servants appointments.
The government is staring in at a possible suit challenging appointment of CAS, if not done the right way. Subsequently, it is prudent that the President’s advisers do proper homework on public servants procedures.
If not Ruto will be turned into a president whose appointments are ever disputed in the courts.
Fidelity to the Constitution is the real acid test for President Ruto. It seems he is torn apart between rewarding political loyalty and remaining steadfast to the Constitution he swore to uphold.
All eyes are set to see who takes the day — political loyalty or the Constitution.
Rev Canon Dr Martin Olando is the principal, Bishop Hannington Institute