On August 21, the tenure of the outgoing Director-General of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Francis Wangusi came to an end. As most people expected, his replacement, one Mercy Wanjau was appointed but on an interim basis. Ms. Wanjau, who has been serving the CA as Legal Director has however seen her appointment disputed based on some issues that have been raised by those in the know of the recruitment process in the Authority.
Anyway, sometime after Mercy Wanjau’s appointment had been made official, it emerged that the outgoing Director-General was not going to pass the baton to his successor, citing appointment discrepancies. Specifically, it was said that the Authority’s Chairman Ngene Gituku had planned to appoint Ms. Wanjau without following the proper procedure. According to Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA), the Director-General, who serves as the CEO of the institution on a four-year term must be recruited and appointed by the Board through a competitive process.
Such a high office appointment was going to attract the input of employee unions, and activists, which it did after the Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) and the popular Okiya Omtatah sought the services of the court to announce the appointment of Ms. Mercy’s tenure as illegal.
Also, it has been reported that the CA does not have an active board to validate the appointment, a statement that has since been disputed by CA’s legal representative and former Attorney-General Githu Muigai. Omtatah further alleges that some edits, which have since been signed into law by the President as The Statue Law Act saw the deletion of sections that called for a robust procedure during the selection of Director-General. The current process, according to Omtatah, is not as transparent and fair as initially defined.
Amid the mentioned issues, the CA has since clarified the matter to the public. For instance, it was wrongly reported that the CA was pursuing the extension of Wangusi’s tenure. Instead, the Court was deliberating on the recruitment of the Director-General, which it thinks should be extended to address the aforementioned concerns.
“The Court Specifically pronounced itself on the import and effect of the order of the status quo, to mean it was in relation to the recruitment of the Director-General and not the extension of the office of the former Director-General,” reads a statement from CA.
In the meantime, the recruitment process is still on hold, and Mercy Wanjau will continue to discharge the duties of the Office in an acting capacity.