Beatrice Mathenge, the Registrar of Trade Unions, has been sentenced to one month in prison for disregarding court orders in a complaint filed against her by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU).
In a Friday ruling, Employment and Labour Relations Court Principal Judge Byram Ongaya ordered an alternative fine of Ksh.100,000, failing which Ms. Mathenge will serve the prison sentence.
In the judgment, Justice Ongaya ruled that the Registrar, despite being aware of previous court orders directing her to register KMPDU officials following their election, failed to conduct her duty as prescribed by the law, and hence was found guilty of contempt.
According to the Judge,“On 04.08.2023 the ruling on the contempt application was subsequently delivered in circumstances that, as the contemnor confirmed in her testimony, that she had all along been aware of the judgment and the application for contempt but despite being the Acting Registrar of Trade Unions and substantively a Chief State Counsel (duly re-designated by Public Service Commission effective 05.05.2022), she had failed to comply with the order in the Judgment as directed at her and failed to attend Court on the contempt application,”
In the case, KMPDU officials told the court that they were duly elected to their roles on June 11, 2022, and communicated the same to Ms. Mathenge for registration on June 13, 2022.
The Registrar, however, failed to do so, prompting the union to move to court in Nairobi, where they received a ruling in their favor on February 10, 2023.