Ex-Nairobi County workers protest outside Sakaja's office over jobs

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, when he launched the El Nino preparedness programme on September 11, 2023. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

A group of former Nairobi County workers for the second time took to the streets to demand to be given back their jobs.

The protestors said they were former county workers who kept the city centre clean for many years.

They said that they were told to reapply for casual jobs with an assurance of being absorbed directly based on their work experience.

But now, they claim that to have been edged out of the jobs. Last week, the workers staged protests in the city demanding reinstatement. And on Tuesday, they were back on the streets.

Premises around City Hall and outside the governor’s office were turned into noisy environs by the group demanding that their pleas be heard.

Michael Odhiambo, who spoke on behalf of the workers, said they opted to demonstrate so that their grievances can be addressed.

“We have been demonstrating because we feel duped, until recently we were working under the County as cleaners when we were told to for the jobs afresh,” Odhiambo explained.

They also marched to the entrance of the Governor’s office blocking those who were checking in for other services, opposite KICC along City Hall Way.

“The Governor had told us our jobs are secure and it was just a process but when the recruitment was done and letters of confirmation came out, most of us were not on the list,” he added.

Odhiambo claimed about 300 casuals were tasked to clean the city centre but only 70 were picked in the recent exercise where the County unveiled 2,500 staff.

“When we tried to follow up at the environment department we were told that it is our time to rest after training the newcomers for two days, in fact, we are the ones who ensured the city was clean during the recent Climate Change Summit,” he added.

County Secretary Patrick Analo, however, explained that some of the casual workers who had been advised to apply for the jobs afresh were not suitable to be employed.

“Their grievances are not true, the County absorbed about 200 of them in the recent employment of 2,500 casuals and others were found not suitable for the job” Analo stated,

Explaining, “As procedure during hiring, the applicants were required to go good conduct from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations but 17 of them turned out that they had criminal records."

The County Secretary said about 80 who were not absorbed have been advised to apply for the jobs.

“There is an ongoing recruitment of another 1,000 casuals and we have advised 80 of them to apply,” Analo added.

This is the second time that the cleaners have been staging demonstrations around the city blocking the motorists and offices around city hall.

Another demonstrator said the move by the county was unfair and has left them without a source of income.

“We are about 230 now on the streets and without food on our tables, the County ought to have given us first priority as promised by the Governor,” she said.