A second suit has been lodged at the High Court challenging President William Ruto’s decision to appoint former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu to the Nairobi Rivers Commission over integrity concerns.
The petition filed by the Law Society of Kenya and Transparency International Kenya wants the court to quash the President’s decision and declare that Waititu is unfit to serve in the commission for failing to satisfy moral and ethical requirements.
They also seek orders stopping Waititu from assuming office at the Nairobi River Commission and indefinitely to any public office, citing a pending court case where he is being prosecuted alongside others over graft. The lobby groups claim that the politician lacks integrity and competence to hold the post as demanded by the Constitution.
They have also questioned the advice of the Attorney-General Justin Muturi to the President over the appointment, as they believe that Waititu is incompetent to hold a public position having been impeached from the office of the governor.
“Waititu is incompetent of any appointment by the Head of State, either upon the advice of the Attorney General or otherwise on his own motive not only to be a commissioner of Nairobi River Commission but also to any public office as a state officer indefinitely. He lacks the moral aptitude, ethical grounding, beyond reproach integrity and has a greatly questionable character as would depict a state office worthy to receive any commendations by the Head of State, or appointment to being a state office,” they argue in the court papers.
The petitioners also based their petition on Waititu’s impeachment from the office of governor Kiambu for gross violation of the Constitution and abuse of a public office.
Waititu was impeached in January 2020 and lost subsequent court battles to reverse the decision.
The two petitioners through lawyer Gichohi Waweru further argue that the Attorney General ought to have advised the Head of State that such an appointment flies in the face of Constitutionalism and does not meet the ethical baselines for state officers, and is incapable of being upheld by any Court if challenged.
“AG ought to have advised that such an appointment of Waititu makes folly of the gains made in promoting chapter six of the Constitution, the national values and principles of leadership espoused within the constitution and enabling laws,” LSK and Transparency International Kenya states.
They add that: “the only viable solution is for the court to put an end to all this by stopping Waititu from assuming office and in addition, the AG ought to be compelled to advise the government as such and for them to desist from continuing in their folly.”
The petitioners have also taken on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for failing to challenge or ensure that Waititu’s appointment is reversed.
“EACC is constitutionally mandated to supervise, implement and oversee Chapter Six of the Constitution in addition to the Leadership and Integrity Act. But it has failed, neglected and absconded their duty to do so, in ensuring that persons such as Waititu are not appointed to any state/public office,” they say.
Lawyer Waweru says unless the court moves in haste to stay the implementation of the Gazette Notice over the appointment and or in the alternative the swearing in the gains made in protecting the enabling tenets of the Constitution shall be lost, and no quashing of the actions in future could offer complete reparation to the assault meted on the Constitution.
The recent last suit comes three weeks after activist Peter Odhiambo Agoro also lodged a similar suit challenging Waititu’s appointments.
In December last year, Waititu was appointed by President Ruto to be a member of the Nairobi Rivers Commission together with eight others namely, Pamela A. Olet, Mumo Musuva, Grace Senewa. Eva Muhia, Elizabeth Wathuti, Carlota Dal Lago, Elijah Biama and Duncan Ojwang
According to the Gazette notice, the mandate of the commission was tasked to “Reclaim the rivers of Nairobi as a spine to the city’s blue and green infrastructure for a better urban environment and quality of life.”