, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – The High Court on Wednesday halted the appointment of Ferdinand Waititu as the Chairman of Athi Water Services Board after a petition questioning his integrity was lodged.
Justice Mumbi Ngugi issued the order after Benson Riitho moved to court to challenge the appointment arguing that Waititu’s character was questionable.
Riitho further explained to the court that Waititu has previously been charged with various offences, has a pending criminal case and as such, is not fit to serve in a public office.
The court directed Riitho to serve the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources Judy Wakhungu, Attorney General Githu Muigai and Waititu in time for hearing of the petition slated for January 22.
Waititu was last week appointed to replace former Makadara MP Reuben Ndolo for a period of three years in Gazette Notice No. 115 dated January 10.
Sources in State House recently admitted that President Uhuru Kenyatta was facing a dilemma over the recent parastatal appointments that are turning controversial.
According to the reliable sources, a senior official in State House went ahead and advised the President to make the appointments without taking the legal implications into account.
“That person was advised not to forward the names to the President but it was like they succumbed to pressure and did just that. I don’t know what will happen next,” the source told Capital FM in a previous interview.
Among the notable names whose appointments are raising debate is Abduba Dida who was appointed the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Board Chairman and Samuel Poghisio, who was named the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Chairman.
Dida’s academic credentials and the process of his appointment without Parliament’s involvement have been questioned, while Poghisio’s appointment should have been made through an open and competitive process.
The appointment of The National Alliance Secretary General Onyango Oloo as the Chairman of the Lake Basin Development Authority has also met criticism owing to the fact that he still holds and plans to remain a party official.
Deputy President William Ruto, while speaking on Citizen TV’s Cheche show last Wednesday, said that the officials behind the ‘mess’ would be held to account.
“It should not happen and I am sure that even those people who made the President sign the gazette notice without proper diligence must be asking themselves questions and we will also be asking them very hard questions,” said Ruto.
The National Authority for the Campaign Against Drugs and Alcohol Abuse Chairman John Mututho was appointed in a similar fashion before the President revoked the appointment after the backlash that came from Parliament owing to the fact that he had not been vetted by Parliament as required by the Constitution.
The source however said that whether or not the President would cave in to the public pressure was uncertain.
Our sources also explained that the appointments were made using the State Corporations Act which governs all public bodies including the Constituency Development Fund without considering the arising legal bottlenecks.
This locked out public participation which is unconstitutional and allowed the President to appoint public officials without seeking Parliament’s approval which is also unlawful.