Youth in Mandera East took to streets on Thursday protesting against a decision by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate suspected irregular hiring of staff by the Mandera County government.
They accused EACC of unfairly targeting Governor Ali Roba’s administration while many young people have been given opportunities to serve the public.
“We are shocked and surprised that EACC is investigating a noble gesture by our county government where more than 600 youth have been employed,” said Mr Abdiwahab Maalim Adan who led the demonstration.
The claimed that it is the first time that young people in the county are being considered for formal employment after many years of marginalisation.
Mr Adan said the move by Mandera county government to engage the youth has reduced cases of terrorism in the region.
“Cases of radicalisation have reduced because the county has considered many youth in different sectors of employment but EACC seems unhappy with that,” he said.
The youth, who claimed they are from the minority clans in Mandera East, declared their full support for last month’s disputed recruitment of county staff.
“We are very much concerned with the interference by EACC in the employment process and this will affect many livelihoods in Mandera,” Mr Adan said.
The group accused some unnamed local politicians of being behind the EACC investigations.
“There are a few politicians who are taking selfish advantage of any good initiative by the county leadership and they are behind the ongoing frustration by EACC,” said Mr Adan.
The group advised the alleged enemies of progress to hold their horses until 2022 when the next elections will be held.
WAIT FOR 2022
“Those playing politics should know we are past that era and they should stay calm and wait for 2022 when political competition will be welcome,” said Ibrahim Ahmed.
The group maintained that the Mandera County Public Service Board (CPSB) is known for its competency.
“Our CPSB is known for hiring very competent candidates with required ethics. We don’t have to taint the board’s good image simply because some candidates failed in the interviews,” Mr Ahmed said.
According the group, it is the first time since 2013 that the local population has been considered for employment by the county government.
“In the first term of devolution, those who got jobs were sons and daughters of the rich from Nairobi and from outside Mandera but this is the first time we have been considered locally,” said Mr Ahmed.
EACC detectives have pitched tent in Mandera since Monday investigating an alleged irregular hiring of staff by the county public service board.
“We are in Mandera to investigate allegations or irregular recruitment of staff by the county public service board in May 2019,” Mr Philip Kagucia, EACC North Eastern Region Coordinator told Nation on Wednesday.
The anti-graft agency is also investigating how at least 14 other senior county officers were hired without the approval of the public service board.
It is alleged that some the youth employed recently are students in local secondary schools and some are in colleges and universities outside Mandera County.