A month and two weeks since the Mombasa County Cabinet was sent home following expiry of their contracts, Governor Hassan Joho is yet to name a new team, creating anxiety within his administration.
The Cabinet was sent home on November 12 when the executives’ two year contracts ended. The governor had promised to name a new team in “three to four days”.
He said he was evaluating a report on their performance and receiving feedback from county residents before reconstituting a new cabinet in “three to four days”.
“I have evaluated what each CEC has achieved in the past two years. There are some who have done well and others whose work is wanting. In three to four days, I will make a decision on who stays and who goes,” Joho said then.
But anxiety has now gripped the county over a missing Cabinet heightened by the mass removal of 350 county inspectorate workers whose contracts expired on the same day.
The civil society and residents urged the governor to expedite the selection process or return the old Cabinet to office.
Although aides claim there is no vacuum or cause for alarm, insiders assert that key decisions cannot be made for lack of substantive CECs to make them.
There are reports that a forensic audit ordered by the governor is delaying the naming of the new cabinet as Joho intends to retain some CECs.
But there are also claims the governor, who has been operating from outside his Mombasa office for most of his second term and has been on dozens of extended trips overseas, has not had adequate time and consultations to make his cabinet.
There are also unconfirmed claims that the process has been dogged by competing business interests and that some people he intended to bring into his Cabinet have declined offers.
“The governor is rarely in his office, how do you expect him to get time to attend to this matter?” posed an MCA who asked not to be named.
Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) Director Khalifa Khalef said Joho should name a new team soon or return the old CECs to avoid collapse of service delivery.
He said the governor knew the expiry date for the CECs contracts and should have initiated the selection process in good time to avoid a situation where key positions remain vacant for long.
“The CECs give instructions to the team under them and are key to service delivery. Joho should replace the Cabinet members or return all of them to office to end the anxiety,” Khelef said, adding that the Constitution stipulates that the positions be filled.
Umoja Summit Party Chairman Matano Chengo expressed fear that the delay could have been caused by a misunderstanding among Joho’s advisors. “We also want the inspectorate staff whose contracts expired returned or replaced,” Chengo said.
Pwani University lecturer Hassan Mwakimako said the governor should have had a plan long before his executives’ contracts expired to avoid a crisis.
Prof Mwakimako however said the delay could have been caused by the delicate balance of interests from various communities in the county.
Meanwhile, the county is yet to renew or appoint new members to replace the 350 inspectorate staff whose tenure also ended mid-last month.
Although county officials maintained that there was no crisis in the management of county government affairs, the delay has sparked panic in the county’s workforce.
Yesterday, acting County Secretary Joab Tumbo said the governor has a list of those to take the positions and will unveil the team soon.
Mr Tumbo said there is no crisis in the delivery of services at the county since CECs serve at the policy level while technical work is done by chief officers and their juniors.
“I am sure the governor has had time to work on the list of those to be appointed as CECs and will make an announcement soon. It his prerogative to make the appointments. He may drop some and retain others. The constitution does not give time limit for him to reconstitute his Cabinet,” Tumbo stated.
He said since the governor and his deputy William Kingi are around, there has been no hitch in the delivery of services since the CECs left office.
The CEC’s whose contracts expired include Maryam Mbaruk (Finance), Hazel Koitaba (Health), Godfrey Nato (Environment) and Munywoki Kyalo (Youth and Sports).
Others are Fatma Awale (Water), Seth Odongo (Devolution), Fawz Rashid (Trade and Tourism), Taufiq Balala (Transport), Edward Nyale (Lands) and Hassan Mwamtoa (Agriculture and Fisheries).
Deputy Governor Kingi said the governor needs to give a lot of thought on who he appoints to cabinet to ensure smooth service delivery as he is serving his last term.
“The appointments require the governor to sit and think a lot. He has had to assess all situations. He wants to put up a team that takes him through the last mile; a team that delivers. I don’t think he will take long to unveil the team. He will make an announcement soon,” Kingi said.
Joho had earlier said he will not hire CECs who failed to deliver on his agenda during the two-year contracts.
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