Two Kisumu residents have filed a lawsuit against Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, claiming irregularities in the recent shortlisting of 10 chief officers for the county. George Abwajo, the secretary of Kisumu County Budget and Economic Forum, and Phillip Pande, a good governance advocate, are seeking to halt the county assembly from vetting and approving the candidates until the case reaches a resolution.
The plaintiffs argue that the selection process should be restarted, adhering to constitutional requirements. In their petition to the High Court of Kenya, they have named Governor Nyong’o, the Kisumu County Public Service Board, its secretary and CEO Hesbon Hongo, with the County Assembly of Kisumu as an interested party.
Abwajo and Pande assert that the county government’s shortlist is constitutionally flawed, as it fails to maintain regional and gender balance. According to their affidavits, the shortlist is predominantly male, with just one female candidate, and lacks representation of persons with disabilities or young individuals.
“The impugned appointments do not reflect the face of Kisumu County, both in terms of sharing opportunities across the seven sub-counties in the region and on ethnic numerical composition of the cosmopolitan Kisumu County,” Abwajo stated.
The petitioners accuse Governor Nyong’o of neglecting public service values and principles by not scrutinizing the list of appointees. They claim that the governor was unaware of the list’s content and forwarded it to the County Assembly for vetting despite noncompliance with the law.
Moreover, Abwajo and Pande criticize Hongo for supervising the recruitment process while allegedly holding office illegally. They maintain that he has exceeded the six-year non-renewable term stipulated by the County Governments Act and continues to receive a salary and benefits.
The plaintiffs are seeking a court declaration that Hongo is unlawfully in office and should cease receiving a salary and public benefits. They also request an order compelling Governor Nyong’o and the County Public Service Board to recover all payments made to Hongo after his term expired in November 2019.
In addition, the petitioners call for the court to halt all new appointments, promotions, or filing of vacancies within Kisumu County Public Service until a new CEO-cum-secretary of the board is recruited.