• Governor Ali Korane says counties are not departments of the national government
• Says anti-graft agency harassing innocent Garissa employees
Garissa Governor Ali Korane on Friday defended the county government against allegations that it is employing unqualified staff.
Speaking for the first time about the issue that has been making headlines, Korane regretted that the matter had taken a political dimension. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is probing the claims.
Duale had on Wednesday asked the EACC to investigate allegations that counties in the ASAL areas are employing staff with fake academic certificates.
He said the affected counties are Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu and Turkana.
"I want to express my displeasure with the much-hyped issue of academic qualifications of the county staff. I want to inform those gossiping that we have employed qualified personnel," Korane said.
A visibly angry Korane said county governments are not departments under the national government. They are at liberty to employ anyone they feel was best suitable for the vacancy that needed to be filled, he said.
He gave an example of a Ugandan woman who was hired to spearhead the war against HIV/Aids without academic qualifications and now works at the UN headquarters.
"The Constitution has empowered us and we won't hesitate to pluck a cattle herder from oblivion and recruit him or her to serve in our offices so long as they are adding value based on their experience," Korane said.
He said it was wrong for a government agency to succumb to political blackmail and start harassing innocent county staff through unwarranted summons.
Korane told the employees not to panic over the issue and attend interviews being conducted. He said he would immediately reinstate them after they are fired.
Garissa Speaker Ibrahim Abass said a local politician, he did not name, was behind the county government's woes. He termed the allegations "unfortunate and baseless".
Abass said the county assembly has qualified members who are mandated to undertake an oversight role. However, he said, they should not overstep their mandate.
County Secretary Abdi Mohammed Sheikh wrote an internal memo on March 15 requesting all directors, deputy directors and assistant directors to present their academic certificates by March 25.