Before announcing his surprise resignation last week, outgoing Nairobi County deputy governor Polycarp Igathe came under fire for his explanation of the role the Sonko Rescue Team was playing in the City.
When asked about the legality underpinning the decision to allow a private NGO undertake the functions of the Nairobi City County (NCC) staff, Igathe tweeted, “Wouldn’t you rather ask how quickly and efficiently the team can clean the city?
The average age of the NCC worker is 55 years and they were put to the task but we… saw the piles of accumulated garbage and had to deal with it urgently as we await the tender process.”
Mr Igathe’s claim that the average age of county workers is 55 years is inaccurate.
This is, however, not the first time the age and professionalism of Nairobi County workers are coming under scrutiny.
At the moment, unofficial estimates put the total number of Nairobi City County workers at more than 13,000 although no official census or audit has been published in recent years.
Nairobi County Public Service Board boss Philip Kungu last year told reporters that 70 per cent of the county’s workforce was above 55 years and possessed minimum primary education qualifications.
Former Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke repeated the same statistics in 2014, adding that the situation was causing a lot of lost man hours with many employees routinely filing for sick-leave.
The most official data on the human resource composition of the county workers comes from an internal document dating back to 2014 that indicates that Nairobi County had a total of 9,811 employees working across the various departments.
Of these, 2,070 reported to be between 51 and 55 years old as at November 2014 and another 1,060 above 56 years and therefore set to retire by the end of this year.
This means that out of 9,811 employees on the County’s payroll, 21 per cent are over the age of 55 with the greater majority falling outside this bracket unlike what the deputy governor had said.
The deputy’s governor’s submission that an aged City County workforce is unable to discharge county services necessitating outsourcing is thus incorrect.