President William Ruto’s appointment of 50 Chief Administrative Secretaries was declared unlawful by the High Court on Monday, July 3.
Three judges—Justices Kanyi Kimondo, Hedwing Ong’udi, and Visram Alnashir—made the decision.
The three-judge panel went on to conclude that although there was public input prior to the appointment of CASs, it was only restricted to 23 CASs, not the 50 that President William Ruto had chosen.
“There was no public participation in the appointment of the extra 27 CASs. The establishment of the extra 27 CAS positions is unconstitutional,” Justice Ongudi ruled.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the entire complement of 50 CASs is therefore unconstitutional,” added Justice Kimondo
The High Court further faulted President William Ruto’s administration for not subjecting the CASs upon selection by Public Service Commission (PSC) to vetting by the National Assembly.
The Court ruled that the role of CASs fell between a constitutional and state office hence there was need for a parliamentary vetting.
“CASs are for all purposes assistant Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries are relegated to reporting to CASs and CSs,” the High Court ruled on the need for vetting in the National Assembly adding that the CASs were supposed to earn more than PSs.
The three-judge bench in their ruling also questioned the wisdom of having 50 assistants to CSs when the Kenyan Constitution limited the maximum number of CSs to 22.
“We do not think it was the intention of framers of our Constitution to have 50 CASs deputising 22 CASs,” the High Court ruled.
While it was established that the position of CAS was advertised as required by law, PSC was faulted for not indicating the number of vacancies.
On Friday, March 24, President William Ruto and the Public Service Commission (PSC) were sued by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Katiba Institute for violating the constitution.
According to the two organizations, President Ruto broke Article 10 of the Constitution, which allowed for the creation of 23 seats, by appointing 50 CASs.
The CASs are prohibited from receiving a salary, pay, or any other advantage while the issue is still being decided by High Court Lady Justice Hedwig Ong’udi.