Anxiety rising among county workers as new governors assume office

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Kicked out officials

Mwangaza also ordered the revenue board to give back to their owners' items that may have been confiscated by the previous administration.

In Nakuru, there were reports that allies of Governor Susan Kihika kicked out officials, including the director of communication, from the previous administration.

"On Monday morning, some people came and said they were here to take over the offices from us. Some of us have valid contracts which are yet to expire," said one of the officers.

An official who said his five-year contract says they should be patient.

But an aide to Governor Kihika denied the allegations, claiming some of the people who worked under the former governor and whose contracts are about to expire are just scared.

"No one is invading offices or evicting staff," said the aide, who sought anonymity because he is not officially authorised to speak to the media on behalf of the governor.

"Those people are just scared that their contracts are coming to an end and fear the new administration may not renew them."

Kihika promised not to sack workers haphazardly but instead ensure those who have been in the same job group for a long time are promoted.

The governor has pledged to form a special committee to look into the welfare of the workers especially those in the health department so as to employ them on permanent and pensionable terms.

Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok has announced he would soon sack some of the senior county officials after accusing them of failing to support him during the campaigns.

"It is a hard decision I am making but I have to because I cannot work with staff who do not trust my leadership," he said during a staff meeting at the Bomet AAF Stadium last week.

Kakamega governor-elect Fernandes Baraza. [File, Standard]

Kakamega governor-elect Fernandes Baraza promised to protect the workers' rights without discrimination.

"I will not victimise those who campaigned for my opponents. Ours is an open and uniting leadership," said Barasa.

"I am not a governor for ODM but for all who live and work in Kakamega. Let no worker feel threatened. I will protect you."

Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani promised a smooth transition and continuity after taking over from governor Salim Mvurya whom she deputised for 10 years.

This means she is likely to retain many of the county officials she has inherited.

County government operations have been running smoothly in Uasin Gishu after governor Jonathan Bii and his Deputy John Barorot assumed office.

The county has since advertised 10 vacancies for County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) and the governor assured more than 4,000 county staff on permanent and pensionable terms that their jobs are safe.

Bii, while addressing county staff on Sunday, committed to ensure the welfare of workers is taken care of.

"Our main focus is to serve residents, nothing else. Those who voted for my rivals should now join us as we forge ahead because that was a competition. We belong together," Bii said.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Bii's deputy Barorot called on county staff to be diligent and said performance contracts and appraisals will be employed to ensure provision of quality services.

"County employees should ensure they do what is required of them so we can do what we promised the residents," Barorot said.

"We will not entertain laxity or those who will want to use their offices for rent-seeking."

Turkana governor Jeremiah Lomorukai has reshuffled chief officers.

Lomorukai has consequently appointed, in an acting capacity, John Ayangan Korikel as Chief Officer for infrastructure, transport and public works, while the current director for trade, James Lokwale has been appointed acting Chief Officer for water services.

[Reporting by Stephen Mukawale, Robert Amalemba, Boniface Gikandi, Phares Mutembei, Muriithi Mugo, Anne Atieno and James Omoro, Nehemiah Okwembah, Patrick Beja, Marion Kithi, Hassan Barisa and Renson Mnyamwezi].