Uasin Gishu County Secretary and Two Officials Held in Contempt by Justice Maureen Onyango’s Court Order


The Judge in her judgment further declared null and void the decision by the county government to continue retaining the aggrieved workers on casual terms.

Uasin Gishu Former County Executive Committee member for Health Sammy Kotut (left) and County Secretary Edwin Bett (right) pictured at the Eldoret Employment and Labour Relations Court yesterday.

Uasin Gishu County government Secretary Edwin Bett and two other top county officials were on Wednesday found in contempt of court order over their failure to convert casual workers to permanent and pensionable terms, however, they escaped sentencing after agreeing to comply with the directive.

Justice Maureen Onyango of Employment and Labour Relations Courts in Eldoret had found Bett alongside former County Executive Committee member for Health Sammy Kotut, Chief Officer for Health Paul Wangwe and the County Public Service Board guilty of contempt of her order dated September 2, 2023.

The case had been filed against the devolved unit by Joel Bett, John Wachira and Cherono on behalf of 27 others through a human right lobby, Centre Against Torture two years.

This was after the county through the public service board turned down their request to be put on permanent and pensionable basis despite serving in their current positions for more than six years.

The workers are represented by Lawyer Stanley Kagunza while Lawyer Mwangi Kangu represents the county government.

It was a sigh of relief for the top county officials who had sat in court for more than an hour waiting for their fate after Justice Onyango told the respondents that she had pardoned them on condition that they
comply with the orders she issued during her ruling regarding the status of employment for the casual workers.

“Don’t be worried since I have pardoned you but make sure that you comply with the orders of the court which stated clearly permanent and pensionable and no probation period of six month  as you have indicated,” stated Justice Onyango.

In her verdict which was in favor of the aggrieved casual employees, the Judge directed that they be converted to permanent and pensionable terms with the rights and benefits under the employment Acts, 2007.

She stated: “The respondents are bound to recognize the petitioners as permanent employees having worked for the respondents continuously for more than six years.”

The Judge in her judgment further declared null and void the decision by the county government to continue retaining the aggrieved workers on casual terms.

The aggrieved workers were also allowed by the court to join a trade union of their choice with immediate effect.

Lawyer for the petitioners had brought to attention of the Judge that the county government had totally gone against the orders she issued and instead given the aggrieved workers new posting letters indicating that they would be put on a six month probation.

“Your ladyship, the county government has issued letters to my clients which indicates that they will be hired on probation basis for six months pending their confirmation on permanent and pensionable terms
based on their performance despite having served for over 10 years,” argued Kagunza.

He further said that the employees who were formerly in health department, had been deployed to other departments as senior support staff on job group D whose positions, he argued, are reserved for
cooks and office messengers despite holding diploma certificates in their respective fields of specialization.

One of the workers who is a holder of a diploma in ICT has been deployed to the department of agriculture as senior support staff on job group D.

The move by the county administration, he said was meant to get rid of the workers in their new dockets over alleged non-performance upon completion of their probation period.

But lawyer for the county government Mwangi Kangu dismissed the claims, saying that majority of the aggrieved workers had collected their posting letters on their own volition without any coercion or intimidation.

“Indeed we have complied with the court order by issuing the workers with letters of appointment where they are set to serve for a period of six months on probation pending their confirmation based on the performance of their duties,” argued Kangu.

But the Judge stepped in and reminded the lawyer to stick to the verdict in her judgement where she emphasized on permanent and pensionable and not probation.

Justice Onyango directed both parties to appear before her court for mention of the matter on June 26 for further directions.

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