The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Communications (IEBC) Manager Tabitha Mutemi can now sit easy after Members of Parliament approved her stay at the Media Council of Kenya Board.
The MPs in a sitting shot down a petition seeking her removal from the board and voted a unanimous no to the question where the ICT committee sought that the charges be forwarded to the ICT CS for constitution of a tribunal to initiate the removal.
The legislators had raised reservations with her removal with some of the lawmakers raising concerns that the accused person (Mutemi) did not get a fair chance to be heard.
The ICT Committee Chairperson William Kisang however denied the allegations, asserting that Mutemi submitted a written response which the committee received and considered.
Lawmakers in support of Mutemi said her job as the IEBC Communications Officer does not amount to a full-time job hence not in breach of the public service principles and values, further stating that they will not be used as an arena to settle boardroom wars.
Kisang (Marakwet West) however was of the view that there were sufficient grounds for the removal of Mutemi who is also Communications Manager at the IEBC.
“According to Section 14 (3) of the Media Council Act, 2013 this House recommends removal of Tabitha Mutemi as a member of the Media Council of Kenya,” Kisang said.
Last week the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said it was neither consulted nor notified of its Communications Manager Mutemi’s appointment as a board member of the Media Council of Kenya.
“Her appointment at MCK is not viable as long as she holds her current position,” the electoral board, adding that it would take action against Mutemi “at an appropriate time”.
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua had also termed the appointment of Tabitha Mutemi as an independent member of the MCK board as untenable.
In a letter to the clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai, Kinyua said the Ministry of ICT is expected to take the necessary action to regularise the recruitment and secure an appropriate appointment in line with the Media Council Act.
The letter was copied to ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, Attorney General Paul Kihara and Secretary to State Corporations Advisory Committee Wanjiku Wakogi.
“Consequently, and under the Mwongozo Code of Governance, and Circular No OP/CAB.9/1A of the 3 February 2016, Mutemi would be ineligible to serve as an independent member of the MCK,” he said in the March 23,2021 letter.
The Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, in a letter to the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly Jeremiah Ndombi, said Mutemi’s appointment to MCK is not supported by law and she should be removed from the board if she continues to be an employee of the IEBC.
Early last month, Mutemi won first round in the battle against Media Council of Kenya CEO David Omwoyo over her alleged ouster from MCK board.
Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto on Wednesday told a parliamentary committee that the removal of Mutemi was irregular as the law was not followed.
As a result, Ogeto noted that she remains legally a member of the council until the procedure to remove her is followed.
By Alice Gworo