The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi has dismissed an application by two former KTDA (Kenya Tea Development Agency) managers seeking a suspension of their termination from office and recruitment to fill their past positions.
The court ruled that Thomas Somba and Guyo Godana, who served as KTDA security manager and general manager for operations respectively, failed to prove that their prayers are capable of being implemented, coming many months after their dismissal.
“The court is not clear if the prayers are capable of being implemented if the termination letter was issued on 3rd August 2022 so impugning such a letter so many months later is not clear if it is capable of being implemented anyway. It is not clear if the applicant is still in employment or not. Even if the termination letter is impugned it is not certain to the court if the same is overtaken by events or not,” read the ruling.
In delivering the ruling, Judge Anna Ngibuini Mwaure ruled that whereas the two were served with termination letters in August 2022, the court has not been informed whether the roles have been filled.
“A termination letter was served on the applicant in August 2022 and the court is not informed if another general manager has been recruited or not. I am unable to grant these prayers at this point as the court is not seized of the accurate position whether the applicant has already left employment and whether another individual has been recruited to the position,” read the ruling in part.
Guyo and Thomas had both filed separate applications with the court seeking to have their termination from KTDA employment reversed, arguing that they had been relieved of their duties without due process.
Both had been terminated from employment in August 2022 as part of reforms in the smallholder tea farmers organization which commenced with the election of new factory directors and, subsequently, KTDA Holdings directors.
In ruling on this application, Judge Anna vacated the order stopping KTDA from substantially filling the positions, granting KTDA the leeway to proceed to advertise for the positions. “Of course, this honourable court had suspended the recruitment… by its court order dated 6th October 2022 but cannot stop the organisation recruiting for the position beyond here and so the same order is hereby vacated,” reads the ruling in part.
Court papers reveal that both had been subjected to internal disciplinary proceedings which recommended that both be relieved of their duties.
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