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High Court stops promotions in prisons service

Prison warders seeking to stop their employer from enforcing promotions got a reprieve on Wednesday when a court granted their plea.

High Court Judge John Mativo ordered that the status quo be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the case. The promotions were to take effect on April 4.

Through lawyer John Swaka, the warders alleged favouritism and nepotism in the promotions, saying qualified candidates were left out.

“The prison warders are apprehensive that, unless the court intervenes, the integrity of the prisons department shall continue to be tarnished and the discharge of its mandate will diminish due to the said malpractices,” said Mr Swaka.

Mr Gikundi Muriuki and Mr Josephat Gatika sued the Kenya Prisons Service and the Attorney-General. They said the Commissioner-General of the Kenya Prisons Service issued a directive for the interviews for promotion to the rank of inspector within the prisons service.

MARRED BY CORRUPTION

Despite the interviews done in January having been marred by corruption, favouritism and nepotism, a list of purported successful candidates was released on March 16.

They claimed that the list contained names of friends and relatives of the directors and top officers of the service.

“We are aggrieved and dissatisfied with the Kenya Prisons Service since some graduate warders have been in service for more than 10 years without upward mobility or salary increment yet the promoted officers do not possess the relevant qualifications either academically or from job experience,” said Mr Swaka.

The aggrieved warders are now accusing their employer of gross violation of the law and placing the institution in a position where it cannot perform its mandate due to incompetent and inexperienced staff.

They said that unless the court intervenes, the prisons service will continue to deteriorate for lack of qualified staff yet it is a critical department that deals with convicts and criminals. The case will be heard on March 29.

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