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Rodent catchers among 176 workers sacked in Laikipia

Sunday March 1 2020

Acting Laikipia County Secretary Karanja Njora

Acting Laikipia County Secretary Karanja Njora speaking to journalists in his Nanyuki office on February 29, 2020 where he revealed that workers with no roles such as rodent catchers, herdsmen and market masters had been laid off. PHOTO | JAMES MURIMI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JAMES MURIMI
By JAMES MURIMI
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Rodent catchers, herdsmen, market masters and cleaning supervisors are among 176 workers sacked by the Laikipia county government in February.

Speaking to journalists in his Nanyuki office, acting County Secretary Karanja Njora said the staff audit conducted by the County Public Service Board (CPSB) showed that various roles were anchored in the defunct local authority and are, therefore, currently non-existent.

The human capital audit was conducted between June 24 and August 17, 2019 in Nanyuki, Rumuruti, Nyahururu and Doldol towns.

Mr Njora said the county government could no longer afford to pay the employees who did not have clear roles, emphasising on the need for effective delivery of services in the new system of government.

IDLE EMPLOYEES

"In the defunct local authority, we had positions of market masters, rodent catchers, herdsmen, and senior cleaning supervisors. The staff who were performing those duties had to be moved to other positions and this required them to further their education. Those who failed to further their studies remained idle and, as a result, they had to go," he said.

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The County Public Service Board had issued a general redundancy notice to all the staff, the labour office and labour unions on January 8, 2020.

"There is a time we had lots of rats in our markets and the solution was to hire staff to catch them. As a society, we have embraced high hygiene standards. The staff were rendered idle," Mr Njora said.

"The county council had holding grounds for livestock and this obliged them to employ herdsmen. But we ceased operating the holding grounds but the herdsmen remained in the county’s payroll. The question we are asking ourselves is whether they are still herding cattle," he said.

PROMOTIONS

CPSB is currently conducting promotions of deserving officers, appointment of acting officers, re-designation, re-deployment and externally sourcing for missing essential skills.

The board, after recommendations from the executive, has promoted 12 senior officers to substantive positions.

"Filling all positions with substantive appointees, including those of chief officers and other ranks, will be a continuous process. While, employees above 50 years of age can take voluntary retirement, anybody with the necessary skills and working in the appropriate position will be retained," Mr Njora said.

Governor Ndiritu Muriithi is currently conducting an appraisal of all county executive committee members, chief officers and directors.

"Each of the officers is being appraised on performance parameters, which they have agreed upon with their supervisors, using a standard performance management tool," Mr Njora said.

SAVE BILLIONS

The county hopes to save Sh1.143 billion from its recurrent budget and inject it into development projects.

The county has been spending Sh190.8 million in salaries for its 3,179 workers.

Mr Muriithi maintains that his administration will continue exploring other means of increasing the development kitty.

"Well, I can’t speak on behalf of other counties but we cannot just keep on talking about the need to redirect expenditure. We have to take actual managerial steps and walk the talk. We want to redirect resources from paying salaries to building schools, equipping hospitals, rehabilitating our roads and improving the quality of our ECDE institutions," Mr Muriithi said.

"We cannot continue paying wages and salaries to people who have no real work that they are doing. We need more money for development so that what we do as a government is commensurate with the expectations of the citizens," he added.

EMBRACED TECHNOLOGY

The county boss said his administration has embraced technology that has made operations more efficient, hence some roles have become redundant.

"We no longer need dozens of messengers since we move files electronically. The nature of filing has changed. The nature of clerical work has changed from manual to electronic," the governor said.

"All staff must have computer skills so we no longer have typing pools and mobile phones have greatly reduced the reliance on land lines," Mr Muriithi added.

The audit report revealed that 254 workers did not have any academic papers.