Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) warehouse in Nairobi. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG
Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has been stopped from terminating the contracts of 44 employees who expressed fears of layoffs at the state agency in the ongoing reforms.
Employment and Labour Relations court judge Maureen Onyango directed the authority to continue paying salaries, allowances and all benefits due to the employees as they pursue an appeal.
The employees went back to court following a decision in May this year by Justice Onyango who in her decision ruled that sending all employees home, even on full salary, was unlawful.  
The judge, however, found that redundancy is a prerogative of an employer under the Employment Act and that the employees failed to prove that there was any redundancy at the time they filed suit. 
The employees led by James Kilonzo said they have appealed against the decision and the employer might fire them yet the Kemsa board is not fully constituted. 
“Petitioners under their respective contracts of service with Kenya Medical Services Authority. The Petitioners have a right to appeal against my findings in the judgment and it is the responsibility of this Court to ensure the subject matter of the appeal is preserved,” the judge said.
The employees argued that the board in unlawfully in place and the intended redundancies are unlawful.
The board on its part argued that the application is an attempt by the employees to re-litigate the case, which has already been determined by the court and the intended appeal does not in any way bar it from proceeding with the planned redundancies. 
READ: Kemsa to remain with a third of staff, declare 378 vacancies this week
The employees had challenged plans to unilaterally sack them arguing that it was unfair and amounted to unjust termination of employment. 
Kemsa is undergoing restructuring in a bid to reform the agency and improve the accountability of its employees amid a string of scandals that have plagued the agency.
The board of directors was overhauled by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year in the wake of multi-billion-shilling scandals plaguing the medical supplies agency.
A report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu for the year ended June 2020 stated that Kemsa had 912 employees against an approved number of 341.
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