The Employment and Labor Relations Court has once again stopped the recruitment of new board members to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK).
The injunction caught some interviewees by surprise this morning as they got to the Authority’s office ready for the interviews only to be told of the court order barring the exercise from proceeding. The interviews were scheduled from today for the next three days.
The positions fell vacant following the withdrawal of an appeal against a High Court decision that the board be disbanded. The High Court last year ruled that the board was illegal, but Attorney General Githu Muigai appealed the decision. Two weeks ago, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru withdrew the appeal, effectively disbanding the board and leaving the positions vacant.
The seven members of the disbanded board were Mr. Wilbert Choge, Mr Kennedy Nyaundi, Ms Grace Munjuri, Ms Hellen Kinoti, Ms Beatrice Opee, Mr Peter Mutie and Prof. Levi Obonyo.
They took an issue wit Mucheru’s actions.
“The move to withdraw the notice of appeal violates the independence of the Authority and contravenes the Constitution and the relevant statute,”
the board members said in a letter to Mr. Mucheru.
The selection panel that is to recruit the members is comprised of representatives from Media Council of Kenya, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the Law Society of Kenya, the Institute of Engineers of Kenya, Public Relations Society of Kenya, the Kenya National Union of Teachers, the Consumers Federation of Kenya and a representative of the ICT ministry.
The new board was necessitated by amendments to the Kenya Information and Communications Act (1999) which replaced the former Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) to CAK. The amended law, Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Act (2013) gave new broader mandate to the broadcast and telecoms regulator due to the expanded role in the Constitution.
However CA board chairman Gituku Ngene, is not affected with the changes.
The Communications Authority of Kenya is the broadcast and telecoms regulator and has jurisdiction over the broadcast sector, satellites, issuance of frequencies and mobile telephony.