MAJOR FALLOUT

Turmoil at NGO board over demotion of top staff

Several top managers, including the deputy CEO relegated

In Summary

• Insiders said that operations at the NGO regulator have nearly grounded to a halt with a section of officials threatening legal action.

• The employees said the changes were engineered exclusively by the CEO and Human Resource Manager Joyce Naisiala to the exclusion of all staff.

 The NGO Coordination Board is in turmoil following a major fallout after chief executive officer Mutuma Nkanata and the board engineered a new grading system.

Several top managers, including the deputy CEO have been relegated by the system.

Insiders said that operations at the NGO regulator have nearly grounded to a halt with a section of officials threatening legal action.

However, in an interview with the Star, Nkanata said there were only a few disgruntled elements and refuted claims that operations had stalled.

This week, for instance, he said, they have had a busy NGO week with robust engagement and cooperation from their staff.

“There is no demotion. What has changed is just the job titles. There is not even a single staff whose salary has been affected,” Nkanata said.

In a memo of appeal, some of the affected officials termed the changes as discriminatory and a blatant violation of the Constitution and the Board’s HR manual.

The employees said the changes were engineered exclusively by the CEO and human resource manager Joyce Naisiala to the exclusion of all staff.

“It is clear that the principle of equity has not been considered in this career progression structure that has turned out to be career regression structure.”

It is fundamentally misleading to consider career progression without the element of experience which is a key factor in job evaluation criteria,” the officials said.

“We hope to hear from you within seven days from the date of receipt of this memo.”

In the changes, deputy CEO Andrew Ogombe who has served the parastatal in the same position for 17 years will now be the director of operations.

The axe also fell on the board’s legal manager Lindon Nicolas, a practising advocate who has worked as a manager for eight years.

He will now be a principal legal officer.

Most of the managers were told to acquire a master’s degree or a four weeks leadership course from the Kenya School of Government.

“Stephen Monyoncho has a CPA (K) degree, a masters degree and is also a qualified auditor who is currently serving as assistant manager - finance yet in the new designation, he is being transitioned as a finance officer.”

“Shouldn't he be transitioned to the same position he held previously or higher and then required to obtain further qualifications?” the staff asked.

Also affected are procurement manager Dorothy Muthini who now becomes principal supply chain management officer and public relations manager Richard Chesos who has been reduced to a principal communication officer.

Others are assistant manager ICT Francis Tumuti, assistant manager for administration Alvin Ntimama and regional offices' coordinator Josephine Ngatia.

According to Nkanata, the position of deputy CEO is being phased out in the civil service.

“Do I take the blame on government policy?” he posed.

He said all the changes were done in good faith since the board’s organizational structure and grading system has been irregular.

According to the CEO, all the changes were approved by the board and the State Corporations Advisory Committee.

“We are transparently handling the issue. We have asked staff who have complaints to come forward. We shall also invite the board and people from SCAC to explain why the changes were done,” he said.

In an internal memo dated February 24 this year, the CEO said staff who do not have the requisite qualifications will be given three years and four years to acquire a bachelor’s and master’s degree respectively.

However, on March 5, Nkanata issued a second memo asking staff to collect their new grading letters.

According to insiders, the career progression formula has completely discarded experience acquired by officers over the years.

“It has not taken into account the fact that most officers in managerial positions have served this organization for over ten years,” they protested.

One of the beneficiaries of the changes is Naisiala who now becomes the director, corporate services

Naisiala was accused by the Commission on Administrative Justice of being a beneficiary of un-procedural promotions by then CEO Fazul Mohamed.

“Fazul acted in a manner likely to suggest that he frustrated the staff to create opportunities for Naisiala to rise through the ranks,” CAJ concluded.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris