COUNTY IN CRISIS

Elachi orders suspended county staff back to work

On Monday, Governor Sonko nominated Anne Kananu Mwenda as his deputy

In Summary

• Speaker says an ad hoc committee will be formed to oversee resumption of services in county facing a crisis.

• Governor Sonko is facing charges related to graft, leaving the county without a boss after resignation of deputy in January 2018. 

 

 

Nairobi assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and MCAs at the assembly on January 7.
Nairobi assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and MCAs at the assembly on January 7.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

The Nairobi County Assembly will hold a crisis meeting on Thursday and set up an hoc committee to oversee swift resumption of county services.

Suspended staff on full pay have also been recalled — if they are not involved in court cases — Speaker Beatrice Elachi said on Tuesday, reflecting the assembly's decision. They are to return to work within two weeks as soon as the paperwork is processed. 

Those on suspension include Health CEC Mohamed Dagane and Finance CEC Charles Kerich. They were removed by Sonko in September last year, alongside 14 other county officers, over the collapsed Precious Talent School in Ng'ando ward. 

Elachi said the House will take a position on the issue of nominating a deputy governor when the House resumes next month.

"The House will pronounce itself in line with the Jubilee Party and the law once we resume from our recess. Our business as the assembly is to ensure Nairobi moves,” she said on Tuesday. 

On Monday, embattled Governor Mike Sonko nominated Anne Kananu Mwenda to the position of the deputy governor. 

He has been barred from office and from performing official duties, pending the outcome of his trial.

The county has had no deputy governor since January 2018 when Polycarp Igathe resigned, citing failure to earn Sonko's trust. Sonko has balked at naming a deputy.

Elachi also said the assembly had written to the Supreme Court for advice on the issue. 

“We have requested institutions that interpret laws to advise us and we are waiting the Supreme Court to come back to us. Once we get the answers we will be able to address the issue on the legality of the nomination," she explained.

 

At the same sitting, Elachi said the House will bring a motion to create the ad hoc committee.

A special sitting is set to be gazetted on Thursday when MCAs will discuss issues pertaining to the current governance crisis.

“This committee will be looking into issues affecting development and come up with solutions. Everything will be made clear during the special sitting,” she said.

Elachi further said the issue of [Sonko's] impeachment will not be on the agenda on Thursday. "In case the issue is brought up, I will advise my members to follow the law as interpreted in the Standing Orders and the County Governments Act," she said." 

MCAs had attended a four-hour-long kamukunji to discuss county problems.

Elachi called for the kamukunji, or informal session,  at the request of Minority leader David Mberia.

For the first time, the whole house and leaders agreed there's a crisis.

"We want to state categorically that we are aware that there is a leadership issue within Nairobi county after the governor was arrested and charged with issues relating to corruption,” Elachi said.

Nairobi assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and MCAs at the assembly on January 7.
Nairobi assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and MCAs at the assembly on January 7.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Recall of suspended staff

The assembly further called for the return of all suspended staff who are on full pay and not facing any court cases.

More than 100 key staff have been suspended since 2017, many via social media.

“It is not usual labour practice to suspend staff using WhatsApp and maintain them on full pay. They are hereby instructed to return to work and perform their important duty of serving the taxpayers,” Elachi said.

The assembly instructed the County Public Service Board to process all the cases and ensure staff report to work within two weeks.

In addition, the MCAs pledged to stand firm with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga in the war on corruption. 

“We want to assure Nairobians that the era of corruption, nepotism, intimidation, favouritism and victimisation is history," Elachi said.

On Wednesday, all parties in the assembly will hold their own kamukunji to discuss all major issues in preparation for the special sitting on Thursday. 

Edited by R.Wamochie