Labour Court stops establishment of CAS office in public service

Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi.

The employment and labour relations court has temporarily stopped the establishment of the office of  the Chief Administration Secretary (CAS) in the public service following the conclusion of the collection of public views.

Justice Monica Mbaru issued the orders pending the hearing and determination of a suit filed by the Law Society of Kenya.

The judge directed the LSK to serve the Public Service Commission and the Attorney General before close of business on 14th October 2022 for attendance and taking hearing directions on 24th October 2022.

“It is hereby ordered that in the interim, to allow service upon the respondent an order of stay of implementation of the process of establishment of the office of Chief Administrative Secretary in the public service,” the court ruled.

According to LSK, PSC published a communique on 21st September 2022 inviting the public to submit its views on the creation of the position of CAS in the public service.

The society argues that despite inviting the public to give its views on the establishment of the said office, the PSC intentionally failed to provide crucial information to facilitate informed participation of the people.

LSK letter to PSC

In an affidavit sworn by LSK CEO Florence Muturi, upon noting the information omitted as per the dictates of section 27 (1) of the PSC Act, the LSK, pursuant to its mandate to advice the government on matters of law and assist members of the public on matters touching on law, wrote to the PSC on 23rd September 2022 requesting to be supplied with information as required by law and also invited them to share the information with members of the public.

PSC responded to the letter on 27th September 2022 and sought clarity on what information LSK was seeking despite their letter pointing out the requirement of section 27 (1) and inadequacy of the notice they had sent out.

“The Law Society on 3rd October 2022 responded to the letter and noted that the request for clarification was intended to run down the days in the advert considering that the date for receiving submissions had been set at 6th October 2022,” the LSK claimed.

In addition, LSK states that the information contained in section 27 (1) of the PSC Act is fundamental to the involvement of the people and failure to publish it is fatal to the principle of public participation.

The society further argues that the advert is hollow and only meant to sanitise an otherwise illegal and irregular process.

In her affidavit, Muturi says there is likely to be duplicity of roles between the Principal Secretaries and the CAS, which would further bloat the public wage bill without corresponding improvement of service delivery in the public sphere.

“The advert does not disclose whether an audit for the workload of the Cabinet Secretaries had been conducted and whether a determination has been made in light of the requirements of section 27 (1) (a), that the workload justifies the creation of the office.

It is LSK’s argument that failure to provide crucial information to the public makes the said public participation exercise a nullity which must be quashed.