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Court declines to quash gazette notice establishing presidential task-force on health

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They wanted the high court to issue orders prohibiting any person from convening, aiding, attending, reporting to, receiving reports from, paying or facilitating payment of any public funds to the task force.

An application filed at the high court to quash the Gazette Notice number 8437 of 2024 establishing a Presidential Taskforce on addressing Human Resources for Health has been declined.

But Justice Jairus Ngaah told the petitioners that this prayer could be made later after the substantive petition and motion are filed.

The petitioners include Tribeless Youths Kenya, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Africa Centre for Open Governance (Africog), Siasa Place and Wanjiru Gikonyo.

They wanted the high court to issue orders prohibiting any person from convening, aiding, attending, reporting to, receiving reports from, paying or facilitating payment of any public funds to the task force.

They have sued Attorney General Justine Muturi and Health CS Susan Nakhumicha to be restrained from implementing the notice issued on July 5, 2024.

Muturi is sued on behalf of the president and the task force while Nakhumicha is sued as Health cabinet secretary for failure to operationalise the Kenya Human Resource Advisory Council (KHRAC).

The task force was mandated to identify the legal, policy, administrative and operational constraints impeding the performance of the health sector in Kenya in regard to human resources for health reforms.

The team is also required to review the performance of human resources for health in Kenya and recommend improvements, review and recommend any other matter incidental to improvements in strategic human resources for health management and other reforms in the Kenyan Health system.

The petitioners argue that in addition to being unconstitutional, the task force usurps and duplicates the role of the Kenya Health Resource Advisory Council (KHRAC) established under section 30 of the Health Act of 2017.

"The council has all the power necessary to perform its functions under this Act properly. Still, the council has powers to associate with other bodies or organisations within or outside Kenya, as the council may consider desirable or appropriate and in furtherance of the purpose of which the council is established," the application reads.

The litigants had also asked the court to issue orders directing the CS and AG to operationalise the Act establishing KHRAC within 30 days from July 8 – meaning the council would start working and perform tasks given to the presidential task force.

They say the formation of the task force is a further violation of the constitutional provisions on prudent use of public funds which the youths want to be stopped.

Ngaah listed the matter under a certificate of urgency and directed the petitioners to serve the parties – Muturi and Nakhumicha within seven days. More directions on the application will be issued on July 22.

 

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