TSC CEO and Secretary Dr. Nancy Macharia is at loggerheads with her deputy Dr. Kennedy Juma Mulunda despite working at the helm of the Commission in Nairobi.
Mulunda has previously accused the TSC boss of witch-hunting and wanting him out of the Commission. This was after he was slammed with a dismissal letter that was to end his career at TSC.
He was accused of gross misconduct and abuse of power. He was then immediately replaced. However Dr. Mulunda went to court to challenge his sacking.
Lady Justice Mbaru, in her judgement dated November 30, 2022 ruled that TSC unfairly sacked Dr Mulunda over allegations of bribery and intimidation.
The judge ordered that Mulunda resumes his duties immediately without loss of salary, benefits and work entitlements.
“He was the second highest officer at TSC as the deputy commission secretary. The premature process leading to termination of his employment placed him at a higher loss and the only remedy the court can issue is that he be immediately reinstated to his position,” ruled Justice Mbaru.
The decision was a big win for Mulunda battled the teachers’ employer since his sacking on June 20, 2022.
Dr Mulunda, in his petition, stated that his troubles started in October 2021 while on official duties in Geneva, Switzerland, when he received a message from his boss that some school heads in Western and Nyanza were complaining over his alleged harassment and intimidation.
In January 2022, Dr Muliunda was issued with a show-cause notice over allegations of abuse of office, influencing teachers’ transfers, interference with the schools’ procurement processes and bribery.
TSC, in its defence, defended the disciplinary process leading to Mulunda’s sacking, arguing that it gave him a fair chance to defend himself but he declined.
Justice Mbaru, however, ruled that the commission hurriedly made the decision to sack him and that there was no justification for TSC to rely on an investigative committee report instead of giving Mulunda a chance to defend himself.
As if this was not enough the teachers’ employer moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge the order to reinstate Dr. Kennedy Juma Mulunda as deputy chief executive.
TSC wants the Court of Appeal to overturn the judgment.
However last week an activist filed a court case seeking fresh recruitment of a new TSC chief executive officer, claiming that Nancy Macharia’s term lapsed in February because she has hit the 60 year mandatory retirement age.
In his case filed before High Court Judge Lawrence Mugambi, the activist, Francis Owino wants the court to find that Dr Macharia’s stay at the helm is against the law as she has allegedly attained retirement age.
According to him, Macharia’s term ought to have ended in February this year.
However, in the same court document, he claims that Macharia’s contract as the TSC boss was extended in July 2020 for another term of five years.
Macharia took over the commission from Gabriel Lengoibon, who retired in June 2015, after emerging as the best.
Her appointment followed the conclusion of a competitive recruitment process that started on May 1, 2015, when the position was advertised and attracted 69 applicants of which four were shortlisted.
Ms Macharia is the 9th Commission Secretary/CEO after Mr Jesse Muhoro (1967 to 1974), Mr James Kamunge (1974 to 1977), Mr Duncan Mwangi (1978 to 1980), Mr Joseph Lijembe (1980 to 1982), Mr Jackson Kang’ali (1982 to 1998), Benjamin Sogomo (1998 to 2003), Mr James Ongwae (2003 to 2004) and her predecessor Mr Gabriel K Lengoiboni.
She became the first female CEO of the commission since its inception.
“In July 2020, the respondent’s tenure was renewed for another term of five years which ought to have been her last term in office. The petitioner avers that the respondent’s term expired in February 2023,” claims Owino.
After the first term, the commission extended the same in 2020. In this case, Owino has roped in Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the teachers’ employer as well. The activist alleges that Macharia’s term was unlawfully extended.
“The petitioners aver that there was an illegal, unlawful, and irregular extension and subsequent re-appointment of the respondent as the CEO and Secretary of the TSC,” he claims.
Although Owino has not sued Parliament, he claims that lawmakers in the education committee are silent about her term. According to him, Macharia was born in 1963 and therefore has attained retirement age.
“The respondent was born on May 11, 1963, and as such, she is ripe for retirement as she has gained the age of 60 years which is the mandatory age for retirement. The respondent’s age at the moment stands at approximately 61 years,” he claims.
Owino claims that on February 16 this year, Ministry of Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Affairs Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa revoked all applications for an extension of term for all public civil servants who have attained 60 years.
At the same time, he is seeking an order barring Macharia from further managing the commission.