- “All the nominees are qualified for the positions they have been vetted for and we will approve all of them,” a vocal MCA told the Star on anonymity grounds.
- The nominees are Prof Jackline Oduol, Jack Odinga, Judith Oyugi, Kevin Ajuul, Elizabeth Adongo, Michael Ombambo, Samuel Omondi Owino, and Kut Ochogo.
Members of various committees of the Siaya County Assembly retired Friday to write reports that will pave the way for the swearing-in and assumption of office of seven new chief officers and one executive committee member.
This follows their nomination by Governor James Orengo and the conclusion of the vetting process that began last Wednesday within the precincts of the Siaya County Assembly.
The Star has learnt that the new officers will be sworn in on Tuesday next week, just a day before a petition opposing the ongoing recruitment process is heard by Justice Daniel Ogembo at the Siaya High Court.
The petitioner, Chris Owala wants the ongoing process stopped over an alleged irregular and unlawful hiring process that will burden the taxpayers.
“The respondents have irregularly recruited and appointed individuals without following the law and laid down procedure and they are in the process of carrying out interviews to further recruit members of the public,” the petition reads in part.
The Siaya County Attorney Richard Owade, County Public Service Board, Board CEO Wilfred Nyagudi and the County Secretary Joseph Ogutu are listed respondents in the case.
“All the nominees are qualified for the positions they have been vetted for and we will approve all of them,” a vocal MCA told the Star on anonymity grounds.
The nominees who were vetted for the positions include Jacktone Odinga alias Jack Odinga and former MCA Judith Oyugi for chief officer budgeting and planning, and water and sanitation positions respectively.
Odinga noted that as a director in the department that he seeks to become CO, he has made sure that salaries and their by-products are paid by the sixth day of every month.
As such, he promised to better services in the department and restore its dignity as it has in the recent past been at the centre of corruption allegations in the devolved unit.
Odinga said that, apart from allegations by embattled deputy governor William Oduol that he (Odinga) was engaging in corrupt practices, he is as clean as a whistle; which allegations, Odinga submitted, were found by the County Assembly to not have been substantiated.
However, Odinga was at pains to explain why he was interviewing for a contract position while leaving his current position which is permanent and pensionable.
Oyugi, with a Bsc in Chemistry and experience as the immediate former MCA of East Asembo, said that she will consult with stakeholders to ensure that the Siaya-Bondo (SIBO) water reliably reaches many households and institutions.
She also underscored the need for the county government to assist families in areas that are not connected to the SIBO project like Uyoma in Rarieda to get water tanks for the harvesting of rainwater.
Kevin Ajuul, Elizebeth Adongo and Michael Ombambo remain hopeful to be confirmed as roads, public works, transport and communication; agriculture, livestock and fisheries; and finance, trade, industry and cooperatives chief officers in the order stated.
Dr Samuel Omondi Owino, who has acted as a chief officer in the health portfolio for the last six years, pitched his ideas before the Sylus Madingu-led Assembly’s Health Services Committee wanting to be confirmed in the same position.
Dr Omondi promised that if given full authority, he would institute a raft of measures that would better services and patients’ experience at various health facilities in the county.
For instance, he said, that he would make services at the Siaya Referral Hospital paperless and create multiple billing points to reduce patients’ waiting time.
Dr Omondi also submitted that he will push for the upgrading of dispensaries to level three and four facilities to enable them to get an adequate number of staff and function 24/7.
The 2022 Alego-Usonga parliamentary seat aspirant Dr Kut Ochogo, a professional teacher, counsellor and manager averred that he is “not a youth but youthful” and thus can perfectly serve as the chief officer for the Department of Youth, gender and Social Services.
“The position was advertised and it was not indicated what category of people were to apply. I am an adult who has gone through the youthful experience that I can use to help the youth who are coming up,” Dr Kut told the Oliver Arika-led committee on Friday.
Dr Kut dismissed claims that the position was a political reward being handed over to him as a reward but said he followed due process and that his wealth of experience put him ahead of the rest.
At the onset of devolution, Kut served for six years as a member of the Siaya County Public Service Board – then led by former Gem MP Joe Donde.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Siaya County Assembly Committee on Appointments led by Speaker George Okode sought to know the suitability of the former nominated MP and former Gender Permanent Secretary Prof Jackline Hellen Adhiambo Odhiambo Oduol for the Water, Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change executive committee member position.
The position fell vacant following the successful impeachment of the initial office holder Dr Julie Caroline Phoebe Adhiambo Akinyi Onyango.
Onyango has since gone to court challenging the decision to remove her from office.
During Prof Oduol’s vetting, Okode noted that a petition had been filed by one Mathews Ochieng opposing her appointment over lack of relevant work experience for the water docket and over the court case filed by Dr Onyango.
The committee, however, determined that it had not received any court order with regards to the case and that the petition was not done under oath and thus proceeded to vet Prof Oduol.
She is a professor of linguistics but submitted that she had previously done consultancies and policy work on water and sanitation.