Civil Servants Union Top Leadership In Turmoil After Latest Court Decision

By The Weekly Vision Reporter

The Union of Civil Servants is experiencing a tumultuous power struggle within its leadership. The internal conflict has been exacerbated by a court ruling that mandates the reinstatement of the suspended Organizing Secretary, Paul Kariuki Ndungu. The union had ousted Mr Ndungu from his position, citing his retirement as the reason for his ineligibility to hold office.

After being ousted from his position, Mr Ndungu took legal action by lodging a petition dated December 11, 2023, in which he sought a declaration to continue in office and complete his tenure as the National Organizing Secretary of the Union. He additionally sought orders to be reinstated as the National Organizing Secretary of the union and to receive all previously withheld monthly salaries and allowances, along with interest.

In his petition, Ndungu sought a declaration asserting that Tom Odege’s effort to oust him from his position is discriminatory, unlawful, exceeding his legal powers, and unconstitutional. In an affidavit dated December 11, 2023, he stated under oath that he had been elected as the national organizing secretary of the union and officially started his term on September 5, 2019.

He declared that even though he had retired from civil service on September 24th, 2022, while still in his current position, he is bound by Articles 7(2) and 11(1) of the union’s constitution to serve out his remaining five-year term. Further, he claimed that on November 8, 2021, while guaranteeing a loan he was taking from the bank, Tom Odege wrote a letter to the Co-operative Bank confirming that he was elected on September 5, 2021, and was supposed to serve for five years until 2026 and that even after his retirement, he could continue to hold office for another five years as the national organization secretary.

According to the records at hand, Mr. Odege issued a letter to all union officials on December 14, 2022, notifying them that individuals who have retired from the civil service will no longer be authorized to hold any office starting on January 1, 2023.

According to Odege, a resolution meeting was convened by national delegates on December 7, 2022, at the Kenya School of Curriculum Development, resulting in a resolution for all retirees to leave their office upon retirement. Ndungu refutes the claim, stating that the information is incorrect and emphasizing that no such decision has been taken. Additionally, Ndungu criticizes Odege for exceeding their powers, highlighting a clear overreach in their actions. In a ruling dated May 29, 2024, by Judge Byram Ongaya, the judge noted, “Article 11 of the Union Constitution states as follows: The term of office of all elected National Officials of the Union shall expire at the National Delegates Conference following the assumption of office by that official.

The judge further declared that “the petitioner’s tenure is protected, and he is entitled to continue in office.”.

The ruling further reads, “In conclusion, judgment is hereby entered for the petitioner against the respondents for:

The declaration that the petitioner is entitled to hold office and complete his term of office as the national organizing secretary of the 1st respondent.
The declaration that the petitioner be reinstated, if at all purportedly removed, as the National Organizing Secretary of the 1st respondent immediately.
The declaration that the 1st respondent paid the petitioner all withheld monthly salaries and allowances together with interest at court rates.
The declaration that the 2nd respondent’s attempt to remove the petitioner from office is discriminatory, unlawful, ultra vires, and unconstitutional.
The declaration that the respondent and its organs, including the national executive board, the advisory council, the national delegates conference, the national annual delegates conference, the special national delegates conference, and the national administrative council, are not entitled to consider the removal of the petitioner from the office of the national organizing secretary.