AG says decision on police union must await appeal outcome

January 25, 2016 5:33 pm
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Muigai told Capital FM News that the government could not respond to COTU's latest request as the matter was still pending before the Court of Appeal/FILE
Muigai told Capital FM News that the government could not respond to COTU’s latest request as the matter was still pending before the Court of Appeal/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 25 – Attorney General Githu Muigai has said the government is not in a position to respond to a renewed request by the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) pushing for Kenyan police officers to form and join a union.

Muigai told Capital FM News that the government could not respond to COTU’s latest request as the matter was still pending before the Court of Appeal.

“The constitutionality of the formation of trade unions within the disciplined forces is pending in the Appeals Court… presently government isn’t in a position to take a position on the request,” he said.

COTU First Assistant Secretary General Earnest Nadome earlier on Monday said the union would not tire from pushing for the establishment of a Kenya Police Union.

He complained that police officers suffer in silence due to lack of a platform that they can use to vent the difficulties they face in their work.

He claimed that the office of the Attorney General had failed to amend the Labour Relations Act to allow members of the police force the right to join a union.

The debate of members of the police force joining unions stemmed from a High Court ruling in June 2013 when Industrial Court Judge Onesmus Makau made a landmark decision that allowed police officers to form and join trade unions.

He ruled in favour of four retired police officers Stephen Kyalo, Stephen Karani, Paul Gichuru and Nicky Njuguna.

In the ruling, Makau argued that the Labour Relations Act, which was previously employed to block police officers from forming or joining a trade union, violated Articles 24 and 41 of the Constitution which give every Kenyan the right to form and join unions.

The ruling however directed police officers not to call or participate in strikes which is prohibited under section 47 (3) of the National Police Service Act (2011).

The government swiftly moved to the Court of Appeal to block the High Court decision.

On Monday, Nadome claimed that the only remaining process was to have the Attorney General change the Labour Relations Act which according to Muigai was not the case as the matter was pending in court.

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