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Blow for President Ruto as court blocks 50 CASs from assuming office

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The newly appointed 50 chief administrative secretaries (CASs) suffered a major setback on Friday when the High Court barred them from assuming office.

The decision was taken after the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Katiba Institute filed a case against President William Ruto, contending that the appointment of the CASs was unconstitutional. The CASs are also barred from earning any salary, remuneration, or benefit until the matter is resolved.

The National Assembly had failed to vet the nominees, citing the lack of constitutional authority to carry out the exercise, and the President went ahead and appointed them on Thursday.

Justice Hedwig Ongu’ndi, who issued the interim order, said she was “satisfied that interim conservatory orders are necessary” and that it was an “urgent matter and of great public interest.”

The LSK and the Katiba Institute argued that the President’s decision to create an additional 27 positions in the office of the CAS was unlawful, as he had no powers to establish an office in the public service except in accordance with the recommendations of the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Though the PSC had approved President Ruto’s appointment of 23 CASs, he went ahead and appointed 50, violating the Constitution.

The case will be mentioned on March 28, 2023, alongside another case filed by rights activist Eliud Karanja Matinda over the same appointments. The President and the PSC are the respondents in the case, and the 50 CASs are listed as interested parties.

Among those appointed by President Ruto are poll losers and controversial figures, including Evans Kidero, Catherine Waruguru, Wilson Sossion, Millicent Omanga, Khatib Mwashetani, Charles Njagua, Isaac Mwaura, Chris Wamalwa, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, and Joash Maangi.

The court’s decision is likely to have far-reaching implications, and it remains to be seen how the matter will be resolved.

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