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COTU wins battle for place in NSSF board

09 April 2014, 12:39

Nairobi - The Central Organisation of Trade Unions COTU has won a major victory in its fight for positions on public boards when a court directed Labour Minister Kazungu Kambi to name its nominee to the NSSF board.

Justice George Odunga yesterday ordered Mr Kambi to appoint and gazette Ms Damaris Wanjiku from the Central Organisation of Trade Unions, COTU on the NSSF board “as is obliged by the law” before allegations of another workers’ body, Public Servants Trade Union, PUSETU came into the limelight.

 “The minister has taken unjustifiable time to appoint the representative to the National Social Security Fund, NSSF,” Justice Odunga said.

According to the Judge, “the anterior motives” of the minister warranted the intervention of the court because “he could not understand the reasons behind the minister’s delays to appoint the COTU nominee.”

“I order that the minister appoints and gazettes the COTU nominee to the NSSF board,” Justice Odunga held.

He also said that it was clear that the rights of the Cotu nominee had been violated, grossly infringed and that the minister as a decision maker acted in a manner that was detrimental to the powers parliament has bestowed on him.

“Parliament gave powers to the Cabinet Secretary to appoint the NSSF board nominees. The minister has no luxury to stagger the appointments the way he wants,” Justice Odunga said.

He termed the actions by Mr Kambi as insensitive and an abuse of the descretion of his office.

The judge also said that it was a mandate given to the minister for the good of all the employees of Kenya to be represented in the board saying.

Mr kambi has denied the employees of Kenya a chance to be represented in the NSSF board by not engaging the recommended appointee from COTU, he said.

The decision by the court comes in the wake of supremacy battles between COTU and PUSETU over membership in national boards with both bodies claiming a stake in the representation of workers.

Cotu Secretary General, Francis Atwoli in papers filed in court lamented that on October 2013, the workers umbrella body sent the name of their nominee Ms Wanjiku and three months down the line, the Cabinet Secretary had not acted on the COTU request prompting them to file the suit against the minister.

He said that Mr kambi instead appointed two nominees from government and one from the Federation of Kenya Employers, FKE, “deliberately omitting any mention of COTU’s nominee.”

COTU further argued that this was in contravention of the National Social Security Fund Cap 258 Laws of Kenya, which allowed the workers body to provide a name of its nominee to be appointed to the NSSF board.

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