Photo: Long serving permanent secretary Engineer Erastus Mwongera (left), his son Dr Victor Mwongera (centre) and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua (right).
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua is on the spot after it emerged that he violated his own directive and the constitution of Kenya in the appointment of chairman of board of a government agency.
Although, its President Uhuru Kenyatta who appoints board chairs, Kinyua as the head of public service issues the formal appointment letter.
It follows that Kinyua issued an appointment to Dr. Victor Mwongera as non-executive chairperson of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) on 24th October 2019 for a period of 3 years effective from 16th of October, 2019.
The youthful Dr. Mwongera is currently a senior lecturer at the Kenyatta University where he is the head of Mechanical Engineering department, which makes him a full time public officer.
The communication is a blatant disregard of the provisions of the law especially article 77(1) of the Constitution of Kenya that states; “full time state officers shall not participate in other gainful employment.”
And to reiterate this requirement, Kinyua in a circular dated 3rd February 2016, addressed to all Cabinet Secretaries and copied to Attorney General, Principal Secretaries and all accounting officers issued instructions on the implementation of the requirement.
“In view of the foregoing and in order to comply with the requirements of the rule of law, it has been decided that there shall be no more appointments of State Officers and Public Officers to boards of State Corporations on their individual capacities, except where the legal instruments establish the agency provides otherwise,” Kinyua then directed. In the same circular, Kinyua then revoked all appointments of public officers as independent board members.
But inspite of these clear directive and law, the head of public service moved with impunity to appoint Dr. Mwongera at the YEDF. The KU don is a son of Eng. Erustus Mwongera who was unceremoniously ejected from the board of Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA) following a court order secured by activist Okiya Omtatah when President Uhuru Kenyatta re-appointed him irregularly for a third term. The law only requires that a person can serve for only two terms as a board chair or member.
Dr. Mwongera is now embroiled in a scheme to eject YEDF Chief Executive Officer Josiah Moriasi who had already served six months into his second term.
The Mwongera-led board attempted to terminate the term of Moriasi but were stopped after the high court issued temporary injunction.
Justice Hellen Wasilwa of the Employment and Labour Relations court issued the orders on 4th of May, in a case that Moriasi filed after he was locked out of office. The embattled CEO has filed a second case seeking to cite the board for contempt after locks to his office were changed and official car confiscated.
It has also emerged that it’s not only Dr. Mwongera who is illegally in the board but also Roy Sasaka Telewa who is the current CEO of the National Youth Council and therefore a full time public officer. Telewa was sneaked into the board as an independent member during transition of the State Department of Youth from Margaret Kobia’s ministry of public service to the ministry of ICT under Joe Mucheru.
However even with his appointment to the board, Telewa’s position is contested given he has never been formally gazetted in accordance to the Kinyua’s other circular No. OP/SCA.9/73A (48) and dated 4th May 2015 that requires that all Board appointments, including representatives from the ministry shall be by Gazette notice.
Again, Telewa initially attended board meetings as an alternate of PS but suddenly became an independent board member in January this year, by being given a letter of appointment backdated to October last year.
This means that both the PS for Youth Affairs and Telewa now sit on the board and can vote on any matter.