Kenya: Court Suspends Appointments of Four Members to Tourism Board

13 August 2020

A judge has suspended the appointments of four members to the Tourism Regulatory Authority Board made by CS Najib Balala last week, pending the determination of a case filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).

Mr Balala had appointed Kevin Muasya, Alais Lenana Momoi Njoroge, Isaac Muchiri Njangu and Pauline Njoroge through a gazette notice, as members of the board, for a period of three years from August 7.

In a press release Saturday, Mr Balala revoked Ms Njoroge appointment following an uproar from Kenyans and replaced her with Ms Najma Ismael.

But LSK went to court questioning the validity and suitability of the appointees. The lawyers body also questioned the procedure and manner in which the appointments was made, arguing that it "fell short of the substantive and procedural constitutional and statutory requirements mandatory in public service appointments".

Justice Hellen Wasilwa certified the case as urgent and suspended the gazette notice. The Judge directed LSK to serve the petition to the respondents, among them the CS, the Attorney General and the appointees.

In the petition, the LSK argued that the appointments are unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal, because they were done in total disregard of procedural, constitutional and statutory requirements.

The LSK said such appointments contravenes provisions of the Section 8(1)(g) of the Tourism Act, which requires that members of the board be nominated or selected through competitive process taking into account expertise in tourism or tourism-related disciplines.

"The imminent consequence of not stopping the said appointment process is that the board shall end up with the most unsuitable members on account of having been handpicked and selected through a process that is not open, transparent and competitive," lawyer Manwa Hosea said.

He said the contravention of the constitutional provisions not only renders the appointments unconstitutional but also infringes LSK's legitimate expectation that the Mr Balala would conduct the affairs his office affairs constitutionally and any public office appointments would conform to procedural constitutional and statutory requirements.

The case will be heard on August 27.

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