Court throws 3 members out of NAMATA board citing ethnic dominance

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – The Employment and Labour Relations Court has overturned the appointment of three board members of the Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Authority (NAMATA) citing ethnic dominance.

In a ruling delivered on Tuesday, Justice Nzioki wa Makau said the appointment of Mary Chege, Zachariah Mungai and Ronald Ndegwa on February 5 was “unconstitutional, unlawful and thus void ab initio for the wanton disregard to the national values espoused in the Constitution.”

“The interested parties subject of this suit (Chege, Mungai and Ndegwa) are all from one ethnic community and do not represent the diverse fabric that is the Kenyan nation. Their appointment therefore smacks on the evils of old which Kenyans opted to do away with in the Constitution we took on for ourselves in 2010,” Justice Makau ruled.

The judge directed that the three appointed by Transport Cabinet Secretary through Gazette Notice Vol. CXXVIII – No. 42 No. 1714 cease holding office with immediate effect.

NAMATA is tasked with among other things the oversight of an ambitious Sh5.6 billion Nairobi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which is part of an initiative to ease traffic congestion in the capital.

The Law Society of Kenya, the petitioner, had argued that the appointments of Chege, Mungai and Ndegwa were made in violation of key tenets of law including public participation.

The petitioner also told the court that the appointments failed to conform to Article 10 of the Constitution on national values and principles of governance which include social justice, inclusiveness, equality, transparency, accountability, human rights, non-discrimination and fair administrative action.

LSK further argued equal rights – including the right to opportunities in the political, economic and social spheres – guaranteed to all citizens under Article 27 were infringed.

NAMATA, which covers Nairobi, Kiambu, Murang’a, Machakos, and Kajiado counties, was established by President Uhuru Kenyatta through an Executive Order issued on February 17, 2017.

The agency is expected to develop a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) in the five counties consisting the Nairobi metropolitan region comprising of Bus Rapid Transit System, Commuter Rail System and Non-Motorised Transport System.

The successful roll out and operationalization of the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) trains as part of Nairobi’s Commuter Rail System is seen as a key achievement towards the agency’s goal to decongest the city’s roads.

The Kenya Railway Corporation operates trains top Syokimau, south of the city in Machakos County and Embakasi Village in Nairobi from the Nairobi Central Railway Station.

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