The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has responded to a letter confirming that the commission's Corporate Affairs and Events Manager Tabitha Mutemi has contravened the law by accepting another public position.
The letter further deepens an ongoing tussle between Mutemi and the Media Council of Kenya, where she was appointed and accepted a board member position, an appointment opposed by MCK CEO David Omwoyo but supported by the Editors Guild.
IEBC responded to the MCK Chairman confirming that Mutemi was an employee of the Commission but had not consulted or notified the commission of her new role in the council, promising to take action against Mutemi.
"In view of the foregoing development, the Commission will undertake action at an appropriate time in accordance with the IEBC Act and its Human Resource Procedure Manual," said IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati at the commission's office at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi in June 2017.
Omwoyo had earlier written to MCK Chairman Maina Muiruri informing him that the secretariat would no longer recognize Mutemi as a board member, sparking a back-and-forth between different interested parties.
The CEO based his decision on a 2016 directive by the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua that prohibited state officials and public servants from holding any other office in state parastatals.
“The secretariat will no longer recognize Ms. Mutemi as a board member of the Media Council of Kenya with immediate effect,” read part of Omwoyo's letter.
Mutemi, however, through her lawyers-Kilonzo and Company Advocates, responded saying her dismissal from the board was illegal stating that the appointing authority, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, was the only one who could reverse the appointment.
Chebukati, however, backed the Council's move to dismiss Mutemi from the board.
"The Media Council of Kenya is therefore at liberty to take appropriate action in accordance with relevant laws and procedures governing the Council," added Chebukati
“Under section 14 of the MCK Act, you have no jurisdiction to remove or purport not to recognize a member appointed by the Cabinet Secretary under gazette notice,” Kilonzo and Company Advocates countered the secretariat.
Section 14 of the MCK Act states that; “a person desiring the removal of the chairperson or a member of the council on any grounds specified presents a petition in writing to the National Assembly after which the National Assembly shall within seven days consider the complaints.
If satisfied, the National Assembly would submit the complaint to the CS in charge who shall suspend the member pending the determination of the petition by a judge of the High Court and two other members appointed by him. A recommendation to the CS to remove the member shall be only sought after providing sufficient grounds."MCK CEO David Omwoyo in 2018
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