Agriculture and Food Authority Board on the spot for a selective recruitment of the Director General

The Board of the Agriculture and Food Authority is on the spot for a selective recruitment of the Director General. In Court papers seen by the Star, a City lawyer alleges that the recruitment exercise that has already been commenced is discriminatory as it tends to limit applications from one discipline, contrary to the provisions of the law.

In the case filed in the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi against the Agriculture and Food Authority, the Public Service Commission, the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock and Hon Cornelly Serem- the Chairman, Mr Gabriel Owino, suing in the general public interest accuses the Board of the Agriculture and Food Authority for discriminating against other holders of a first degree in other disciplines including Public Administration, Human Resources, Law Engineering, Business, Accounting and even Communication in its advertisement of 5th December 2023. The Petition has therefore asked Court to declare that the action by the Board to limit applications to holders of a degree in Agriculture is unconstitutional, discriminative, null and void.

In the same Petition, the Public Service Commission is also under fire for failing to audit the operations of the Board, which the Petitioner argues, would have prevented such anomalies.

Mr Gabriel cites the provisions of Articles 1, 2, 3, 10, 19, 20, 22, 23, 27, 41, 73, 75, 232, 233, 234, 258, and 259 of the Constitution of Kenya, the Public Service (Values and Principles) (No. 1A of 2015), The Public Service Commission (No. 10 of 2017) and the Agriculture and Food Authority (No. 13 of 2013). In his petition that also seeks to suspend the recruitment process, he states that ever since its establishment in the year 2014, the Authority has been operating without a substantial Director General or Board, and it is only until March 2023 that the Board was constituted.

In a ruling made on 8th December 2023, Employment and Labour relations Court Judge- Byram Ongaya has directed that the advertisement, recruitment, selection, and appointment for the substantive holder of the office of Director General of the Agriculture and Food Authority in issue may continue only in strict compliance of applicable law and attached qualifications as to the candidates’ education, experience, skills and competencies and personal attributes. The Court has also encouraged the parties to negotiate with the view of settling the case. The case will come up in Court on 20th December 2023.