Manduku finally takes charge at KPA after Mturi case withdrawn

Former National Construction Authority boss Daniel Manduku is now free to take charge at the Kenya Ports Authority.

The High Court dismissed a case challenging his appointment as acting managing director of the KPA.  

The Mombasa High Court yesterday quashed orders reinstating immediate former MD Catherine Mturi-Wairi to her position.

 After being kicked out by a special board, Mturi-Wairi opted to resign. 

Judge Erick Ogola cleared the way for Manduku after the petitioner, Emmanuel Kenga, withdrew the application he had sought to temporarily block Manduku from taking office.

Kenga withdrew his application after Mturi-Wairi left office on Saturday. The board had on May 30 announced it was sending her on compulsory leave over incompetence and theft of containers at the port.  

In her letter of resignation addressed to Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, Wairi said she was quitting to enable her “pursue other personal interests.”

In court yesterday, Kenga through lawyer Gunga Mwinga said the application was overtaken by events as the interested party had already left office.

In the application, the petitioner had sought orders barring Manduku from taking the position and further wanted KPA barred from installing anyone as an MD pending the hearing and determination of the case.

The court then issued conservatory orders temporarily stopping Manduku from taking office in acting capacity.

Kenga, however, said the main petition will still proceed even though he stood guided by the court.

In the main petition, Kenga wanted the court to reinstate Mturi-Wairi to her position terming her compulsory leave illegal and unconstitutional.

KPA on Friday filed an application seeking orders to allow Manduku to take office but withdrew it.

KPA lawyer Cecil Miller said the application had also been overtaken by the turn of events.

Miller said with the resignation of Mturi-Wairi and quashing of the orders, Manduku could be installed as the MD in acting capacity.

He, however, urged the court to issue directions on how the matter should proceed considering the bone of contention had already been solved.

In his application filed on Friday and which was to be heard today, Miller said the constitutional court headed by Justice Ogola lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter.

He argued that the matter should be determined at the Employment and Labor Court, where a similar matter has been filed by activist Okiya Omtatah.

He said only the Labour court has powers to determine matters touching on infringement of constitutional rights as the article 165 of the Constitution stipulates.

He further cited grounds that Manduku was appointed as an acting MD contrary to what the orders issued by Ogola said.

Miller sought to have orders barring Manduku from taking over as MD lifted.

He said the orders had caused a stand-off at the port as the authority cannot run smoothly without an MD.

He noted that the conservatory orders were premature as the MD is undergoing disciplinary proceedings.

He said Mturi-Wairi had been sent on a two-month compulsory leave pending the disciplinary proceedings against her and not dismissed.

He said the process is still ongoing and the applicant ought to have waited for the outcome of the proceedings.

This article was published by THE STAR on June 13, 2018