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Employment Court suspends City Hall appointments


City Hall has suffered a major setback in its bid to constitute a new Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board and sub-County liquor committees after a Nairobi court suspended the appointment of new board members.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court on Tuesday quashed the appointment of members to the board and the licensing committees.

Issuing the conservatory orders on Tuesday, Justice Mathew Nduma Nderi ordered that the appointments to be stayed pending hearing and determination of a case filed by two Nairobi residents.

The two petitioners, Erick Kiongora Murigu and Stephen Mwangi, accused former Nairobi acting Governor and Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura of breaching the contracts of the board members who were in office at the time he issued the notice.

“It is hereby ordered that pending the inter partes hearing and determination of this Application and Petition, conservatory orders be and are hereby issued suspending Gazette Notice No.86 of 12th January, 2021 announcing that the 2nd Respondent has appointed members of Nairobi City Sub-County Alcoholic Drinks and Licensing Committees,” read in part the court order.

Mr Murigu and Mr Mwangi argued that their pleas to have due process followed in the appointments fell on deaf ears then urged Justice Nderi to stay the implementation of the Gazette Notice.

In his ruling Justice Nderi said the two traders have established they have an arguable case directing the two petitioners to serve all the respondents with the suit papers within 14 days.

“Having heard the two petitioners Kiongora and Mwangi am satisfied they have a meritorious case and their rights to access justice will be prejudiced if the gazette notice is implemented. It is hereby suspended pending the hearing and determination of the suit by the two petitioners,” ruled Justice Nderi.

Consequently, all the parties in the case will file written submissions then appear before the judge on March 22, 2021 to get directions on the judgment date.

The Nairobi County Government, Mr Mutura, and the County Chief Officer for Commerce and Indutrialization have been listed as respondents in the petition.

Last month, Mr Mutura sent the entire members of the previous board packing with only one previous member of the board – Rosalid Nyawira Gichuki – surviving the purge.

Ms Gichuki, who served the former board as its vice chairperson, was retained as a member while Stephen Murathi Kambi – who was previously a member of the board for two years before being fired by former Governor Mike Sonko – returned as the chairperson of the board.

Mr Kambi and Ms Gichuki are joined in the board by Martin Mugo Kanyi, Eric Ndungu Muiruri and Nicholas Okwacho Juma.

Mr Kambi replaced Kennedy Odhiambo who chaired the board for its three years term which expired December last year.

Others sent packing included Leonard Mungai, Michael Wathigo – who had replaced Mr Kambi after his sacking in 2019, and former councilor Mutunga Mutungi. Mr Mutungi had been appointed as the new City Hall chief of staff by Mr Mutura to replace Peter Mugo early this month.