The Employment and Labour Relations Court has allowed the National Assembly to continue with the vetting of 51 persons nominated for Principal Secretary (PS) positions by President William Ruto.
Justice Nduma Nderi on Tuesday, November 29, dismissed consolidated petitions filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and two others challenging the vetting process that was already underway in Parliament, saying they were filed prematurely.
"The preliminary objections by the Attorney General and the National Assembly and Public Service Commission succeed only to the extent that the Petitioners consolidated petitions are struck out for having been filed prematurely," Justice Nduma ruled.
While dismissing the petitions, the judge stated the court will now be called upon to review the matter upon the conclusion of the vetting process by the National Assembly.
"This is a sacred mandate given by Parliament by the people of Kenya and the court must play differently in the house in that respect.
The court suspended the vetting of Ruto's PS nominees on November 15, days after LSK lodged the petition.
LSK argued that the nomination of the PSs did not take into account the regional and ethnic balance, two-thirds gender principal, persons living with disabilities and youths contrary to the principles of good governance.
“The impugned list of principal secretaries, 13 are from the Kalenjin community from the Rift Valley region, and 13 others are from Central Kenya region to the detriment of the other 40 tribes and communities contrary to pluralism of the country and depicts regional imbalance,” argues LSK in court documents.
"Accordingly, the consolidated petitions have been filed prematurely and the Petitioners must await the conclusion of the process by the national assembly which is now seized of. That the process is participatory and the court hopes appropriate presentation is made to the national assembly by members of the public to enrich that process," the Judge ordered.
22 nominees had already been vetted by the time the exercise was halted.
Those vetted include former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) director for ICT James Muhati, who has been nominated as PS Economic Planning, current Labour Principal Secretary Peter Tum, nominated as Medical services PS, and as former Laikipia West MP Patrick Mariro.
Others are Julius Korir (Cabinet Affairs), Raymond Omollo (Interior and National Administration), Aurella Rono (Parliamentary Affairs), Joseph Mburu (Health Standards and Professional Management), Philip Kello Harsame (Crop Development), Harry Kimutai (Livestock Development), Chris Kiptoo (National Treasury) and Esther Ngero (Performance and Delivery Management).