Battle over Nairobi County staff recruitment lands in court

Nairobi City County Assembly Speaker Ken Ngondi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

A court battle over staff appointment in Nairobi County Assembly is brewing with the Speaker being accused of hiring excess hands for his office.

In the case filed before High Court judge Mugure Thande, the speaker is said to have hired twelve members of staff instead of the five as required by the law.

In the case, activist Francis Owino argued that Kennedy Ng'ondi has breached the Salary and Remuneration Commission (SRC) circular that caps the number of staff in his office.

Owino claimed that Ng'ondi allegedly hired three personal drivers, three secretaries, and a communication officer who is allegedly a former Gatina Ward Member of the County Assembly (MCA).

"The Petitioner avers that the Respondent, who also serves as the chair of the County Service Board has irregularly and unlawfully hired 12 employees to serve in his office. This is despite the fact that the Salaries & Remuneration Commission Circular, 2023 has only allowed for a maximum of 5 staff members in the office of the County Speaker," claimed Owino.

At the same time, the petitioner also claimed that Nairobi County has employees directly linked to MCAs. He has cited two employees who are allegedly the son and a daughter of two MCAs.

In addition, he claimed there are employees who were hired without a competitive process.

Owino alleged: "Regrettably, all the above positions were not advertised by the County Assembly Service Board as required by law and no shortlisting and eventual interviews of the appointees was ever conducted and or any publishing of their names in the print media; a clear manifestation to the extent of flouting of the constitution by the respondent."

"The failure as required by the law to advertise the positions irregularly filled denied other competent residents of Nairobi and Kenya the right to apply and compete for the appointment and or selection on merit," argued Owino.

The petitioner sued the speaker and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

He accused the EACC of ignoring complaints about staff recruitment in Nairobi.

In order to demonstrate his case, he turned to the Holy Bible and claimed that even the most charismatic leaders can lose their path. He narrated to Justice Mugure the story of King Saul.

"The story of Solomon is another such powerful story that demonstrates that even the wisest among us can lose their way as leaders; that leadership should never be about the quest for wealth, unbridled fame and power, and unfair gain over those who placed one in that seat," the activist said.

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