•Before winning the Nairobi gubernatorial seat, Sakaja said cartels are an excuse used by leaders who have failed.
•Through its officials Festus Ngari and Calvince Okello, the union claimed that the cartels are back and have their target on the County's Finance department.
For many years even before devolution, cartels have been blamed for frustrating the Nairobi county government, resulting in poor leadership, inhouse power battles and hindrance to service delivery to residents.
However, they have never been arrested and brought to justice, despite cries by county bosses.
It now reportedly appears that the cartels are after Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja.
Kenya county government workers union on Tuesday came out to condemn what they claim are efforts by cartels to destabilise smooth operations in Nairobi.
Through its officials Festus Ngari and Calvince Okello, the union claimed that the cartels are back and have their target on the County's Finance department.
"The faceless cartels in conjunction with some rogue county officials behind these actions are the same people who destabilised the previous regimes in their insatiable appetite for squandering public finance for their own selfish interest," a statement by the two officials reads.
The union has, however, urged Governor Sakaja to remain firm and resist what they termed as "evil manoeuvres" by the cartels
"We fear that if these cartels have their way, we are likely to sink back to the days where staff salaries were diverted to pay suppliers and contractors causing endless salary delays," they said.
The union decried that if the cartels are allowed back, they will stop enjoying timely salaries which has been the case since Governor Sakaja took office.
As a result, the workers union has pledged their support to the Sakaja-led administration in the effort to reform and streamline operations.
Early this month, Governor Sakaja declared war with cartels who were fond of grabbing public land.
Speaking during an event in South C, the county boss noted that city cartels have started to disturb the peacefulness witnessed in Nairobi.
"For one year Nairobi has been very calm and we are closely working together both as Azimio and Kenya Kwanza. Some people are not happy with this and have begun their politics," Sakaja said.
The Governor said that his administration will move to reclaim all public land, from land grabbers.
"We will not take that anymore and we are going to be firm because we fear no one including those using them politically. We only fear Nairobians who trusted us with leadership," he added.
In the past regimes, Nairobi County has been turned into an active crime scene where the corrupt have used the courts and parallel payment systems to siphon billions into different company bank accounts while critical services and genuine suppliers go unpaid and unattended.
The soft-spoken former Governor Ann Kananu had found herself in similar waters to her predecessors governors Evans Kidero and Mike Sonko.
It is for this reason that Sonko sought assistance from the National government and had the deed of transfer in March 2020.
Before winning the Nairobi gubernatorial seat, Sakaja said cartels were just an excuse used by leaders who have failed.
“Cartels exist but they are not a threat. Just look at the past and you will realise they are just an excuse for poor leadership," he said then.
"When leaders fail to deliver they always blame cartels who we have never seen or heard that they got arrested."
In 2016, Kidero admitted that City Hall loses more than Sh3 billion to cartels.
He said his government used to collect Sh1.2 billion in revenue every month, but they could not manage to hit at least Sh4 billion because of cartels.
His successor Sonko while addressing residents at Imara Daima on October 16, 2019, asked former President Uhuru Kenyatta to help him rid Nairobi of cartels.
He had decried that cartels were sabotaging his plans to provide services.
Acting accordingly, on March 18, 2020, Uhuru brought military personnel Lt Mohammed Badi to ‘run’ the county under the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.
Badi acknowledged the city has cartels but added that he was ready to take the bull by the horns.
"The cartels are our own people so we know how to handle them. They are not strangers or foreigners, they are Kenyans," he said.
During his campaign, Sakaja said the cure for cartels is not to involve them in governance.
He argued development can only be realised by fighting the cartels' system.
“To deal with cartels the cure is one, not to ‘eat’ with them. You cannot fight cartels if you are part of them. Don’t feed them if you want services delivered,” Sakaja said.
With almost marking one year in office since he was elected, it is now a wait-and-see on how Sakaja will handle the cartels.