Employment court declines to stop Omtatah case against KPA Board

KPA Board Directors sent the Company's MD Catherine Mturi-Wairi on compulsory leave

, MOMBASA, Kenya, Jun 8 – The Employment and Labour Relations Court has declined to stop a case filed by rights activist Okiya Omtatah protesting the removal of Kenya Port Authority Managing Director Catherine Mturi-Wairi.

KPA had applied for the matter be suspended until the determination of a similar case filed at the Constitutional and Judicial Review division of the High Court.

On Tuesday, the High Court Judge Erick Ogolla issued a temporary order suspending the implementation of the decision of the KPA’s board of directors to send Mturi-Wairi on compulsory leave and the subsequent appointment of Dr. Daniel Manduku to her position in an acting capacity.

Omtatah has also challenged the decision at the Employment and Labour Relations Court before Justice James Rika, but KPA were opposed to this case and wanted Justice Rika to either dismiss it or refer it back to the Constitutional Court.

Justice Rika allowed the case to proceed but declined to grant conservatory orders against KPA.

“There has been an attempt to move this case to the constitutional court, but I have resisted the attempts and the judge has agreed with me that the matters, in this case, are to do with Employment and Labour Relations Court and not the High Court, so the matter will proceed at the Employment Court. The other matter at the High Court will proceed separately,” said Omtatah

Justice Rika said there is more required information for him to address the prayers made by Omtatah and h, therefore,re he has given the activist 14 days to compile all the required details.

He directed that Omtatah to serve KPA, the Attorney General, the suspended KPA MD Mturi-Wairi and the newly appointed .Dr Manduku so they can reply within the next two weeks.

“Within those 14 days, they can put in the papers required, because the judge says he would like to see the resolutions of the board, the names of the people who sat in that board meeting, to see the employment contract of the substantive MD Catherine Mturi-Wairi and the employment contract of the acting or purported acting MD Dr Manduku,” Omtatah told journalists.

Omtatah is also required to put in a further supporting affidavit on what has been requested for with all the supporting documents.

“He (the judge) has agreed with the issues of law. He has agreed that the matter raises substantive issues of law, but he has decline to grant conservatory orders on the basis of point only, he wants material facts to be preferred in,” said Omtatah.

Therefore, Omtatah said he is going to write to KPA management requesting them to make full disclosure of the materials that judge want.

“We want to bring the material before the court and give the court a chance to make a reasoned ruling. This particular case is not a sprint, it is a marathon because of the vested interests are deep,” he said.

“We are dealing with cartels which are out to control the port of Mombasa and we are going to put up a spirited fight and we are not going to blink.”

He said he is happy with justice Rika’s decision.

“To me I’m happy with the reasoning of the judge, even though he did not give the conservatory orders. I’m not aggrieved, I’m only challenged to produce more evidence,” said Omtatah.

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