NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – The High Court in Nairobi Wednesday declined to suspend the recent appointment of 47 County Commissioners by President Mwai Kibaki.
Justice David Majanja instead asked Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) to appear on Thursday before Justice Mohammed Warsame when a similar matter lodged by civil society members will be mentioned for directions.
CREAW has filed an urgent application seeking to quash the appointments, arguing they are unconstitutional.
The group argues that the appointments by President Kibaki were in breach of the Constitution and contrary to the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, 2008.
They have accused the Head of State of appointing the commissioners without taking into account competitive recruitment procedures, gender and regional balance; public participation and advertising.
So far, three separate cases have been lodged to challenge the appointment of the County Commissioners.
Politicians are also divided over the appointments, with those aligned to the president like Dagoretti MP Beth Mugo saying he acted within the law.
She argues that President Kibaki had not breached any law in the appointments because other government Ministries like that of Education have already posted county educational directors.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa appeared before a parliamentary team on Tuesday and failed to give a satisfactory explanation over whether the appointments were justified.
He instead asked for more time to respond to the matter.
The County Commissioners were appointed on May 11, in what is seen as a foundation by the government to establish the county government as enshrined in the new constitution.
A statement sent from State House Nairobi when the appointments were said the president had acted in line with Section 17 of the sixth schedule of the Constitution.
The schedule states: “Within five years after the effective date, the national government shall restructure the system of administration commonly known as the Provincial Administration to accord with and respect the system of devolved governments established under this constitution.”
“Further, the fourth schedule of the Constitution clearly outlines the distinct functions of the national government and those of the county governments. President Mwai Kibaki has appointed County Commissioners to undertake coordination of National Government functions in the 47 counties,” the State House statement said.
The county commissioners shall be responsible in coordinating security management, national Government functions and delivery of services, facilitate conflict management and peace-building, mobilise national government agencies for national events and programmes.
They will also collaborate with the Kenya citizens and foreign nationals’ management service in the identification of persons for registration.
Other functions include promoting and enhancing national cohesion and integration to foster unity of the nation as well as coordinating the dissemination and implementation of national government policies and programmes.
They will also manage and maintain administrative boundaries, security roads and airstrips.