500 SACKED OR SUSPENDED

Sonko, MCAs clash over erratic staff suspensions

MCAs accuse Sonko of causing paralysis at City Hall with the vacancies.

In Summary

• Sonko has fired or suspended 500 workers since he took office, he sent home 16officials have the collapse of a Precious Talent School building.

• Reps say Sonko has 'killed' careers; he says they abet corruption and impunity at City Hall.

 

Nairobi County Assembly Majority leader Abdi Hassan Guyo and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at a function in Matopeni, Kayole on November 11, 2018.
Nairobi County Assembly Majority leader Abdi Hassan Guyo and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at a function in Matopeni, Kayole on November 11, 2018.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has fallen out with MCAs over his random suspension and sacking of senior officials and workers.

The ward reps have rebuked him for his erratic "roadside" dismissal of staff saying his habit of suspensions and dismissals has crippled operations at City Hall and ‘killed’ the careers of a number of people.

Sonko has hit out at the MCAs, accusing them of abetting corruption and impunity at City Hall.

 

Led by Majority leader Abdi Guyo, the county legislators said the governor of usurping the roles of the County Public Service Board and suspending staff without subjecting them to the due process of the law.

Guyo said the governor only has a free hand in hiring and firing county executives and chief officers  — and not civil servants who are hired by the board.

“The governor has no power to suspend or sack civil servants. That is the work of the board which is an independent body. We want to know where he is getting the powers to send home civil servants,” Guyo said.

Sonko has either sacked or suspended more than 500 workers since he was elected in August 2017 and has emphasised the fight against corruption.

If we are not be satisfied with the reasons, we shall demand their reinstatement. There are no two ways about it.
NAirobi County Assembly Majority Leader Abdi Guyo

Two weeks ago, the governor, suspended 16 officers, including two executives, following the collapse of a building at Precious Talent Academy that claimed the lives of eight students.

They were suspended via a Facebook posting. The governor gave no details.

Guyo the suspension was uncalled for as primary education is a function of the national government.

 

“Primary education is a function of the national government. There are quality assurance officers and inspectors in the Ministry of Education who were supposed to supervise the school to ensure the students were safe. Why they were not suspended? It is because the suspension is not the solution,” Guyo said.

He said that with the suspension, operations in City Hall’s Physical Planning department have literally been brought to a standstill.

Nairobi County Assembly Majority leader Abdi Hassan Guyo Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Acting Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Chege Mwaura at a breakfast meeting on February 12, 2019.
Nairobi County Assembly Majority leader Abdi Hassan Guyo Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Acting Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Chege Mwaura at a breakfast meeting on February 12, 2019.
Image: COURTESY

“The Planning department has been shut. It means that Nairobians cannot get services,” Guyo said. He added that the House will seek statement when its returns from recess, on the number of staff who have been suspended, reasons for the suspension and if the law and regulations were followed.

As governor, I reserve the constitutional right to hire, fire, suspend or redeploy any member of my Cabinet without reference to anyone.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko

“If we are not be satisfied with the reasons, we shall demand their reinstatement. There are no two ways about it,” he said.

But Sonko, in a statement published in the daily newspapers, said the Majority leader and Minority Chief Whip Peter Imwatok, who had also criticised the suspensions, were abetting corruption, impunity and confusion at City Hall.

“I wish to remind the County Assembly leadership that, as Governor, I reserve the constitutional right to hire, fire, suspend or redeploy any member of my Cabinet without reference to anyone,” Sonko said.

“Anyone who is opposed to the changes in my administration can only be construed to work with and for the enemies of the people of Nairobi. [They have] continued to benefit from the corruption, impunity and confusion that was the hallmark of City Hall for many years, especially under my predecessor,” he said.

He repeated that he was "shocked" the "spurious position" taken by the MCAs, accusing them of valuing the careers of the 16 affected officers at the expense of the lives of city residents.

The Governor further claimed that both Guyo and Imwatok, particularly, who are serving their second terms as elected MCAs, have failed in their oversight role to tame the excesses of the Urban planning Department.

Woodley MCA Mwangi Njihia said, "Sonko’s actions were not justified. That was a disaster that occurred without any warning so it couldn’t have been pre-planned as claimed by some leaders. Secondly, the National government is in charge of education in the country so he should have let them take action."

(Edited by V. Graham)