Six CSs in Ruto administration on the spot for non-performance

President William chairs a special Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi. [PCS]

Six Cabinet Secretaries are under fire from the opposition, Parliament and Kenyans over the manner in which they have handled their dockets in the past 18 months.

Mithika Linturi (Agriculture), Susan Nakhumicha (Health), Ezekiel Machogu (Education), Moses Kuria (Public Service), Davies Chirchir (Energy) and Kipchumba Murkomen are among CSs facing the wrath of Kenyans.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga on Friday launched a verbal attack on Machogu, Nakhumicha and Kuria over the manner they have handled their dockets which he said raised questions as to whether they understand the heavy responsibility bestowed upon them.

Linturi’s fate hangs in the balance due to an impeachment motion hanging over his head in the National Assembly over the fake fertiliser scandal.

The scandal has left the Kenya Kwanza administration hard-pressed to explain how a sector said to be close to its heart could have been riddled with sleaze.

The motion to impeach Linturi was tabled by Bumula MP Jack Wamboka after collecting 110 signatures from MPs.

On the floor of the House 149 MPs voted in support of the impeachment with 36 MPs voting against the motion.

A special committee of 11 MPs, chaired by Marsabit County MP Naomi Waqo, was formed to establish whether Linturi is culpable. The committee will then make a report before the House which will either accept it or reject it.

The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary faces accusations of gross misconduct, gross violation of the constitution and committing a crime under national law and may become the first CS in the current administration to be removed from office if Parliament finds him culpable.

Nakhumicha faces criticism for the manner in which she has handled the medics’ strike, which has left services paralysed.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, last month, filed a motion in the National Assembly seeking to have Nakhumicha impeached over gross violation of the constitution and incompetence.

Owino stated that as a result of the strike the fundamental rights of the citizens, the right to life and quality medical care had been compromised.

Nakhumicha who appeared before the National Assembly plenary to answer questions last month said the Ministry of Health is ready to renegotiate the current CBA since aspects of it are unimplementable. 

“The court-appointed Whole-of-Nation-Approach being led by the Head of Public Service to bring together both levels of government and entities to the dispute with a view of seeking solutions to perennial issues in the Health Sector in Kenya is ongoing,” said Nakhumicha.

Machogu received criticism majorly because of the recent flip-flop on school reopening for second term.  Hours before the re-opening last Monday he sent a statement in the dead of the night postponing reopening which inconvenienced students who had already travelled to school.

“Based on this assessment the Ministry of Education has resolved to postpone the reopening of schools by one week for second term, in the meantime the ministry will work with the relevant agencies and stakeholders to put in place measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the rains and provide regular updates on all developments as pertains the education sector,” said Machogu in the statement.

Political leaders and Kenyans have said the CS had lost a grip on his ministry since they could not understand why he could make such a crucial decision at the 11th hour.

As the new date drew near the Cabinet supported the move which was followed by a circular by the CS stating modalities of reopening on May 6th (today). The circular last Thursday gave guidelines for reopening schools while observing safety. 

However, President William Ruto would announce the indefinite postponement of school reopening even after his Cabinet and CS Cs had prepared the country for reopening.

Ruto said in an address to the nation that the postponement of school reopening followed a warning by the meteorological department that indicated that floods would continue.

“The Ministry of Education is directed to postpone the dates of the reopening of all schools in the country for the second term until further notice, meteorological reports paint a dire picture with the rains likely to persist increasing both in duration and intensity for the rest of this month and possibly after,” said Ruto.

Kuria’s proposal to have all public servants put on contract has been received with anger. The opposition and workers’ unions have sworn not to allow such an unpopular decision that will claw back the gains made in the job market.

Kuria had during a press conference over the ongoing doctors’ strike threat last month threatened to table a proposal to convert all public servants’ employment terms to contractual terms. He said a review of the wage bill had established that it was not sustainable having all employees on permanent terms.

“During the wage bill conference it was established that 1 million public servants took home over 50 per cent of our tax revenue, something is terribly wrong when 1 million people take 50 percent of our tax revenues while 53 million people take home the remaining 50 percent,” said Kuria.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka said that Kuria’s intention will take the country backward and will not help the government in managing its workforce. He said the proposal if cleared will put the public service sector in an unnecessary crisis.

“We have heard of talks of putting civil servants on contract, we are not going to accept attempts to destroy the civil service, we have heard of threats of sacking health workers that are on strike instead of addressing their grievances, which is not acceptable at all,” said Kalonzo.

The Wiper leader said even as they appreciated Cotu working with the government of the day, the movement should consider the welfare of workers and take necessary steps to ensure that is met.

Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli said that the labour movement would work day and night to ensure that Kuria’s unpopular proposal was not adopted. He promised to engage the president on the matter.

“Cotu would not like to dwell much on what Kuria proposed since that decision is unpopular, we will engage the president whom we know cares about the Kenyan civil servants and will not allow such a draconian decision to be made,” said Atwoli.

Chirchir has been on the spot over frequent nationwide power blackouts that Kenyans have witnessed in the last one year. His only take on the matter has been that the country has not invested enough in the networks and now plans to lease a number of networks to private firms to build.

Chirchir said that the country has not had any major electricity system upgrades in the past six years with plans to build a new 33KV line between Narok and Bomet to prevent constant power outages across the country.

“The new line will take 20 months to complete and will be funded by the African Development Bank and Japan. Once it is complete we will have reduced the overload line to prevent plunging the country into darkness going forward,” said Chirchir.

Murkomen has been on the receiving end over increased accidents and some shameful occurrences, like the leaking roof at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The CS has also come under fire over the pitch darkness at JKIA whenever there are blackouts and the explanation given is that JKIA lacks generators.

That has portrayed the country negatively since the facility is a major travel hub.

The Cabinet secretary has instead shifted blame to the previous administration, saying that it did a shoddy work. He claimed that most of the work of maintenance was given to unqualified contractors.

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