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Kericho court to rule on quit notice for public servants ahead of polls

The law required civil servants to resign by February 7 but it was challenged in court/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kericho was on Tuesday expected to make a ruling on whether civil servants planning to vie for political posts should resign six months before a General Election.

The law required civil servants to resign by February 7 but it was challenged in court.

Justice Njagi Marete last Monday temporarily blocked the order and barred IEBC from disqualifying affected aspirants from running for political seats for not leaving public service by last Tuesday until it delivers its ruling.

On December 1, 2016 Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua directed public servants interested in vying for elective positions to resign from their current offices by February 7 to allow the six months period ahead of the August 8 election.

Eric Cheruiyot, the petitioner argued that the directive was discriminatory as it awarded Governors, Senators, MPs and MCAs an advantage of being in office while other public offices were denied the chance.

It was his submission that public servants leave office after dissolution of Parliament to give them an equal advantage as elected members.

According to IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba, the commission’s position remained as stated in the Elections Act that public officers intending to vie for elective posts resign February 7 which marked beginning of the six month period.

“Until the court declares the provision unconstitutional we have no choice but to implement it. If the law is unconstitutional, then the court should deal with that matter as a constitutional matter but not that the commission should not implement that provision of the law,” he said during an interview with Capital FM News.

Section 43 (5) of the Elections Act allows the commission to disqualify candidates who will have not resigned from their public positions six months before an election and it was the commission’s argument that it should not be barred from invoking the law as it is enshrined in the Constitution.

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