In an audio circulated to Social Media, the Governor of Tana River has belaboured to justify why he decided to retain one County Public Service Board Member whose term has expired to head the Board. From the argument, it is clear that the Appointing Authority was aware of complications that might arise out of this controversial appointment. Those who wish to look at the nominees more critically have faulted the Governor on grounds that the list of his Board members does not reflect cultural diversity and is not all inclusive compared to the first Board. However, the Governor has a chance to rectify the anomaly since one Nominee was rejected by the County Assembly meaning the position will be re advertised.
The retention of one Board Member whose term has expired has become every bodies cup of tea. Pundits are seeking legal advise in a bid to establish whether the appointment was above Board and does not contravene the Constitution, the County Government Act and whether it is in line with the best practices from other jurisdiction.
One legal expert contacted by Pokomo Magazne was skeptical that the appointment might attract litigations for the Court to determine whether the retention was legal or contravenes the law. Anyone who is aggrieved by the decision can decide to file a petition in Court.
So we asked our legal expert what does the law provide in composing the Board after the term of the members expire?
The Composition of the CPSB is stipulated under Section 58(1)(a-c) of the County Government Act as indicated below:
- The County Public Service Board shall comprise of
(a) a chairperson nominated and appointed by the County Governor with the approval of the County Assembly
(b) not less than three but not more than five other members nominated and appointed by the County Governor with the approval of the County Assembly and
(c) a certified public secretary of good professional standing nominated and appointed by the Governor with the approval of the County Assembly who shall be the Secretary to the Board.
Section 58(2) provides that the appointment of members to the Board shall be through a competitive process.
Expiry of term of Board members is contained under section 58(4) which inter alia states that a member of the Board shall
(a) hold office for a non renewable term of six years.
The Board shall elect a vice chairperson from among the members and that the Chairperson and vice chairperson shall be of opposite gender.
In view of the foregoing legal provisions we can now boggle our minds. The first issue is whether the position of chairperson was advertised and shortlisted candidates interviewed for the position because CPSB positions are filled competitively.
Secondly, is whether after the Governor nominated and appointed the chairperson , the name was included for vetting and approval by the County Assembly. We are aware of four nominees
- Mrs Victorian Tumaini Secretary of the Board
- Mr Hiribae Abedi Hamisi- Member
- Mrs Venita Dullu Wario- Member
- Mr Kodole Hanti – member
After debating, the Assembly endorsed three nominees but declined to approve one member.
The third contentious issue is the expiry of the term of the Board members. The law provides for a Board member to serve for a non renewable term of six years. The issue is whether the Chairperson is a Board member or not. In normal circumstances including the Public Service Commission the chairperson is a member of the Board and once the term expires it is all inclusive
The fourth issue is whether the person to have been retained is the out going chairperson or a member of the board.
We may not have appropriate answers for the issues identified above. Only a court of law can determine the legality of the retention and make a ruling whether the appointment of a Board member whose term has expired to chair the Board is provided for under the law or its an illegality.