Battle for County Assembly clerk’s office far from over as court bars appointment
A Nairobi court has suspended the appointment of Edward Gichana as the new Nairobi County Assembly clerk.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court suspended last week’s gazettment of Mr Gichana by Speaker Beatrice Elachi as the new clerk to replace clerk Jacob Ngwele, pending the determination of an application filed in court by Mr Ngwele.
Mr Ngwele had gone to court on Monday seeking for a conservatory order quashing the appointment of Mr Gichana on July 24, 2020 pending the service, hearing and determination of his petition.
In the petition filed on July 26, 2020, Elachi has been listed as the first respondent while the assembly’s service board is the second respondent.
“It is hereby ordered that the appointment of Edward Gichana as clerk of the Nairobi County Assembly with effect from July 23, 2020 as published by the first respondent in the Kenya Gazette No.5072 of July 24, 2020 is hereby suspended pending inter partes hearing of the application herein,” the order by Lady Justice Maureen Onyango dated July 28, 2020 reads in part.
Mr Gichana was sworn in by Ms Elachi on Friday as the new assembly clerk in a closely-guarded ceremony that was attended by only a single member of the board.
He had emerged top out of the 11 applicants shortlisted by the board for the position of the assembly’s clerk after the board announced a vacancy in the office three months ago with advertisement made last month.
However, the choice of the former Nairobi County government head of internal audit as the new clerk has divided the assembly as well as the board with some members opposing his appointment.
Nonetheless, Elachi maintains that Mr Ngwele is a “visitor” at the assembly as he has never been formally appointed as the assembly’s clerk since his name has never been tabled in the assembly for approval.
This is despite the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) early this month, after seven months of investigation, affirming that Mr Ngwele’s appointment as the assembly’s clerk followed the due process of the law.
However, Mr Ngwele insists he is in office legally on the strength of a court order and clearance by the EACC.
He maintained that the Employment and Labour Relations court barred anybody from acting as a clerk of the assembly in November 25, 2019 pending the determination of a case challenging his appointment.
Ms Elachi and Mr Ngwele do not see eye-to-eye with the two involved in protracted war that began after a fallout in early 2018.