Sonko, Senate wrangle over firing of staff

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko when he appeared before the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee on audit queries at Parliament on Monday 03/12/18. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Governor Mike Sonko yesterday clashed with senators over the controversial way he fires top county officials.

 This is after members of Senate watchdog committee raised concerns regarding the high number of county executive officers that have been sent packing by the Governor since assuming office.

 Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang, who is also the chairperson of the County Public Investment and Accounts Committee said the arbitrary sacking of officials, is likely to stall development and affect productivity of the staff.

In April, Governor Sonko fired Finance County Executive Danvas Makori.  Four months later the county chief relieved his Health CEC Majevda Hitan off his duties, during an impromptu visit at city hospital established that there were no drugs in the facility.

The Governor appointed Devolution CEC Veska Kangogo to take the post of Mr Hitan in an acting capacity. Ms Kangogo was suspended after a month on allegations of insubordination after the Pumwani maternity saga alongside County Health Director Thomas Ogaro.

“In any office, the boss should create an environment of consistency and continuity among the people he or she works with. Before anybody is fired they should be subjected to fair administrative action,” said Kajwang’.

Yesterday Mr Sonko who appeared before the committee to respond to queries raised by the Auditor General during the 2014/ 2015 financial year absolved himself from any wrongdoing in matter.

He explained to the Senators who included Kimani waMatangi(Kiambu), Ledama Ole Kina(Narok), Charles Kibiru( Kirinyaga)  and  Millicent Omanga(nominated) that  he does not  fire people without a reason.

“I don’t condone laziness and corruption in my leadership, which are the reasons  why most of those affected were sent home. The victims have themselves to blame   because I have made it clear that I do not entertain corruption and laxity amongst all my staff,” he explained.

Senator Kina warned that the Governor must proceed with caution, noting that firing officials might cost the county, in the event the affected officers seek legal redress.

Concern has been raised by a section of the ward representatives who want the county chief to clarify his cabinet members' employment terms. This after the contracts of 10 county executives expired mid-last month.