High Court Rejects Governor Ngilu’s Appeal

Kitui County's Governor H.E Charity Kaluki Ngilu.

The High Court has rejected Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu’s request to review the court’s ruling that made illegal the appointment of Joshua Kimwetich as a county secretary.

In the previous ruling, Governor Ngilu’s decision to appoint Kimwetich was quashed on the basis that the appointee is an officer from the Office of the President.

The governor and the county secretary, Joshua Kimwetich, wanted the court to review, change or set aside the judgment and substitute it with an order urging the parties involved to comply with the Constitution and rules governing public appointments.

However, High Court judge Justice Robert Limo, dismissed the request, saying his court had no powers to revise its own findings on the legality of Mr Kimwetich’s seconding from the national government to Kitui County.

Justice Limo sided with Kitui County Assembly’s position that Mr Kimwetich’s appointment was illegal and unconstitutional.

The judge dismissed the argument that the governor and the county assembly had resolved their differences on the appointment of Mr Kimwetich and the hatchet had been buried.

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Governor Ngilu’s lawyer, County Attorney Caroline Musango, further noted that on the spirit of the ‘handshake’, Kimwetich who initially served in the State Department of Cooperatives as a secretary was justified to be seconded to the county government.

“For the record, the unconstitutionality and illegality of Kimwetich’s appointment cannot be cured or ‘sanitised’ through a ‘handshake’ or a consent, even if there was such handshake (which was not established in any event). This court cannot be asked to review its judgment to attain a result that violates the Constitution,” the judge said.

The judge said the governor’s action was arbitrary and unilateral as she never consulted the county assembly, which was the petitioner in the court case.
It had been submitted that she faced hostility from the county assembly owing to political differences with MCAs.

“The governor has not tabled any evidence showing that she was frustrated in her quest to appoint a qualified person to fill the vacant position of county secretary,” the judge said. 

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Justice Limo also directed the governor to pay the county assembly’s costs of the case, which he capped at Sh500,000.

He said that while it could be true that Mr Kimwetich’s appointment may have been well intended for the common good and on account of his impressive resume and wealth of experience, there was no doubt that key and crucial constitutional statutory procedures were overlooked. 

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