Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has told off the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) for opposing the payment of a special allowance to health workers who are at the forefront in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Mutua has now called for the disbandment of the commission, saying it is overstepping its mandate.
The Machakos governor said that the country should reconsider whether it needs the SRC and also look into whether it is adding to the confusion and bureaucracy that is slowing down development in Kenya.
Speaking in Mavoko Sub-County offices, Dr Mutua said that his administration plans to pay each health worker a special monthly allowance ranging between Sh5,000 and Sh20,000 for the next three months.
The governor said that is administration was taken aback by a circular addressed to the Council of Governors advising against payment of these allowances.
“In my respectful opinion, this circular is not only in bad taste but also completely out of tune with the mood and best interest of Kenyans,” said Dr Mutua.
He added that the mandate of SRC, in regard to public officers, is to advise and not to impose.
The governor said that the essence of devolution is to give self-governance powers to the people in making decisions which affect them.
This, he said, essentially means that county governments should not be micro-managed by bureaucrats who have no mandate from the people.
“In the same vein, each county has its own priorities. If Machakos decides to pay its health workers and another county thinks otherwise, we are all free to proceed in our preferred direction. It is absurd to force counties to be doing similar programmes. This undermines the spirit of devolution,” said Dr Mutua.
Dr Mutua said that the Machakos County government will continue to give allowances to its employees, and especially the health workers, and will even look for other ways of motivating them.
He said that he will not be cowed by “letters from people who are not in touch with the reality on the ground”.
The governor said that he is within the law and will continue exercising his constitutional rights without fear or favour.
“I call upon this country to focus on what is a priority at this time. Our limited financial resources should be channelled from non-life saving sectors to beef up our health system with utmost urgency. That is what I am doing and I will continue to do because that is what Kenyans expect of me and my fellow leaders,” he said.
On reports that Africans are being discriminated against in China, Dr Mutua said that it is ironical for the Chinese to claim Africans are bringing to them Covid-19 whereas the disease came from there.
He termed the harassment as pure racism as people are getting mistreated on the basis of their skin colour in China.
“Even though we are indebted to China and they are our friends, they do benefit a lot from us too. We must call out their racism and tell them we will not tolerate such behaviour,” said Dr Mutua.