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Kiambu: Waititu asserts authority by scrapping positions created by predecessor

By Kamau Maichuhie | Published Wed, November 15th 2017 at 00:00, Updated November 14th 2017 at 22:30 GMT +3
Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo hands over County Seal to the new Governor Ferdinand Waititu (PHOTO: File|Standard)

Governor Ferdinand Waititu has sacked 60 ward administrators and abolished their positions.

Mr Waititu defended his administration's decision to scrap the positions created by his predecessor, William Kabogo, saying they had become redundant.

The governor also sent home nearly all workers in the Physical Planning Department. The officials have been sent home on compulsory leave and Mr Waititu has vowed to bring in a fresh team to streamline operations.

“We intend to bring new ones on board who will steer the reforms that we want in the department,” said the governor.

But observers in the area say the move to abolish ward administrator positions was meant to punish them for the role they played in campaigning for Mr Kabogo ahead of the April 25 Jubilee Party nominations and the August 8 elections.

“The governor has never forgiven the ward administrators for the role they played in campaigning for his political rival. They were used to mobilise voters for Kabogo because they were the ones at the grassroots,” one of them said.

Speaking at the county headquarters, Waititu said instead of ward administrators, he would work with Members of the County Assembly.

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False promises

He claimed the majority of ward administrators had been masquerading as senior county officials and conning unsuspecting residents with false promises of helping them access county government services.

“My administration will only deal with people who have been given the mandate by the people, who are the MCAs. They will be in charge of all the county government programmes and projects in their wards,” said Waititu.

The governor announced that each ward would start receiving Sh30 million for development in an arrangement similar to the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-DCF) currently at the disposal of Members of Parliament.

The new Ward Development Fund will translate to Sh1.8 billion annually and Sh9 billion in five years. The kitty, the governor said, will be managed by Ward Development committees whose patrons will be MCAs.

But Waititu's move might turn out to be a legal minefield if events in Bomet County are anything to go by.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has ordered Governor Joyce Laboso's administration to stay any plans to lay off county staff hired on contract.

In the circular dated November 6, Bomet County Secretary Evelyne Rono directed that all the employees who had been hired on contract without the consent of the County Public Service Board should go home.

Not allowed

“These employees are not allowed to transact on behalf of the county or occupy the government offices as from November 1,” read the circular.

But yesterday, Justice Njagi Marete stayed any plans to send the workers home.

“It is hereby ordered that the 1st and 2nd respondent to stay any intended actual administrative action to lay off the Bomet County Government staff affected by the circular dated November 6 till hearing and determination of this application,” ruled Mr Marete.

The judge set the hearing date for November 20. [Additional reporting by Nikko Tanui]

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