The High Court of Kenya has issued a temporary judgment ordering the embattled Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) Director General Charles Njoroge to vacate his office.
In his ruling High Court Judge Justice David Maraga said that the decision was necessary pending the hearing and determination of a suit filed this week by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) against the decision to reappoint Njoroge as CCK boss.
The lawsuit Cofek wants Information Minister Samuel Poghisio, Attorney General Amos Wako and the CCK board to explain why the reappointment was not conducted transparently as outlined in the new Constitution, which demands for the advertising of the vacant position to allow other qualified person to take part in competitive process.
But reacting to the new development, the minister said he was within the law to make such appointment saying that the court did not issued the order based on his appointment but other issues.
“In his wisdom, the Judge felt it was in order to grant such orders. We will argue our case when it comes to hearing. But that does not stop the CCK from operating,” said the minister.
He said the board of directors would sit within the next 24 hours to deliberate on the new development and come up with the way forward.
“We are going to appoint a new managing director in an acting capacity to run the affairs of the commission until the case is over and determined,” he added.
According to Cofek, the two went against the law when they reappointed Njoroge before advertising the position to allow for fair competition.
The court heard that the minister overstepped his mandate having gone ahead to reappoint Njoroge for a second term contrary to the board of directors and in breach of the Constitution.
Maraga further ordered the CCK board to appoint an acting CEO to the CCK to take charge in the meantime as the matter is decided.
The row over Njoroge’s re-appointment spilled to Parliament last month with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy, Communications and Information Committee grilling the Commission’s board over the manner in which the process was conducted.
Njoroge’s term was renewed for a further three years in April by Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio after he had been asked to step aside by the CCK board following an altercation.
Regulations demand that six months to the end of the three-year term, the sitting director general writes to the CCK board to express his/her interest in having the contract renewed.
A review of Njoroge’s performance by the board led by the chairman Philip Okundi indicated that his performance was below par.
The rating was however, questionable given Njoroge’s performance at the helm of CCK in the last three years. He is credited with spearheading the reduction of calling rates which had hitherto been unaffordable to most Kenyans.
He is also credited with the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector while strengthening regulations, and the recent enactment of mobile portability.