The fate of Vihiga County Chief of Staff hangs in the balance after Court ruling

0
70
Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo (left) and his chief of staff Noah Okaya (right) at Vihiga County Assembly building
Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo (left) and his chief of staff Noah Okaya (right) at Vihiga County Assembly building

The fate of Vihiga County Chief of Staff hangs in balance after the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kisumu declared the office of Chief of staff illegal and unconstitutional.

Employment and Labour Relations Court’s Justice Mathews Nderi while giving the ruling on the case pitting Vihiga County chief of Staff Noah Okaya (claimant), County assembly of Vihiga as 1st respondent, Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo 2nd respondent and County public service board as an interested party dismissed the case stating that it lacked merit and basis.

Okaya who was removed from office by Vihiga County assembly last year March 7th filed an application in Court on 4th April 2018 seeking the Assembly to be restrained from being dismissed pending hearing and determination of the case.

Noah in his court application told the Court that the assembly passed the motion on 7th March to remove him from office without investigating the claims they had leveled against him.

He said the motion to remove him from office which was approved by the assembly ad hoc committee was by malice, self-interest and driven by improper motive.

In his ruling Justice Nderi Nduma stated that Okaya was appointed by the Governor Ottichilo as chief of staff illegally. He ruled that under the County government Act 2012, the Governor has no powers to create the office of the chief of staff.

He added that only the County public service board has the authority under section 59 of the County Assembly Act 2012 as supported by article 235 of the constitution to create offices in the County public service.

He said under section 62(2) of the Act, approval of the County assembly must be sought and obtained by the County public service board prior to purported establishment of any office of the County service.

In his ruling he observed that no such approvals were sought nor any permission was obtained from the assembly in respect of creation of the office held by claimant. He asserted that in any event such approval could not have obtained since the office of chief of staff was unlawfully created by Governor Ottichilo and not by Public service board.

The court also noted that no competitive process was put in-place to appoint the Chief of Staff Mr. Okaya hence flouting Article 73(2)(a) and section 232 of the constitution supported by section 65 (f) and section 61 of the Act.

The MCAs overwhelmingly passed the motion which was tabled by Wodanga ward MCA Vincent Atsiaya saying the chief of staff has held governor hostage making him not to perform.

The MCAs during their deliberations on the motion said the chief staff has overstepped on his mandate interfering with the work of the executive.