Judge Orders Governor Arati To Reinstate Suspended Trade and Tourism CECM

By The Weekly Vision Reporter

Kisii County Governor Simba Arati was dealt a blow by the Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Stephen Radido after he halted the governor’s plan to send the County Executive Committee member for Trade, Tourism, Industry, and Marketing, Dr Alfred On’gera, on compulsory leave. 

Dr Ong’era was appointed by Governor Arati on November 15, 2022, only for him to send the Committee Member on compulsory leave in December 2023 with allegations of gross misconduct, abuse of authority, and severe breaches of the constitution. Dr. Ong’era swiftly wrote to the Governor on January 2, 2024, seeking detailed information regarding the purported wrongdoings and misuse of authority against him. In his communication, he made it clear that failing to receive a response within seven days would result in legal recourse. 

The governor remained silent, prompting Dr. On’gera to file a petition with the court on February 6, 2024. In the petition, Dr On’gera claimed that the mandatory leave was unlawful, constituted unjust termination of employment, and infringed upon national values and principles, as well as rights to information, fair labour practices, fair administrative procedures, and protection from arbitrary dismissal. Dr. Ong’era contended that this act was unlawful. 

Additionally, he pursued a binding injunction that would oblige the governor and the county public service board to reinstate him as a county executive committee member. An affidavit opposing the petition was filed by the Governor, through the County Secretary, on February 22, 2024. It was mentioned in the affidavit that Dr Ong’era was placed on compulsory leave after complaints were lodged against him, and the leave was prolonged to allow for the completion of investigations against him. 

On his part, the judge highlighted that it is the County Assembly, rather than the Governor, that is tasked with processing complaints and carrying out investigations to determine the removal of a member of the County Executive Committee. The judgement delivered on May 8, 2024, reads, “In light of the above, the Court finds and declares that a declaration is hereby issued that the governor’s decision to send Dr. Ong’era on compulsory leave was unlawful.”.

Further, “An order of certiorari is hereby issued quashing the decision of the governor to send Dr. Ong’era on compulsory leave. A mandatory order is hereby issued compelling the County Government of Kisii and the Governor to reinstate Dr. Ong’era to his position as County Executive Committee Member (CECM).