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Crisis as Mombasa chief officers' contracts expire

Friday January 31 2020

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MOHAMED AHMED
By MOHAMED AHMED
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A major crisis is looming in Mombasa County after contracts of the devolved unit's chief officers expired on Thursday.

Chief officers are the key officials that the Governor Hassan Joho-led administration has been relying on for service delivery after his county executives' contracts expired. He has since only renewed four of them.

The Nation has established that starting today, all chief officers will be be sent packing with no plans to renew their employment contracts.

There are 18 chief officers in the Mombasa government. Even if a new group of chief officers is appointed, there is currently no public service board to conduct the shortlisting before the names are sent to the Assembly for approval.

“Contracts for chief officers are expiring tomorrow (Friday) and no one has heard that their contracts will be renewed or extended,” said a source.

County communications director Richard Chacha said Mr Joho is planning to extend the contracts of county executive committee (CECs) members to save the county from plunging into a crisis.

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“There will be no vacuum at all. Already plans are under way to sort out the issue,” Mr Chacha said in an interview.

The expiry of the contracts comes against the backdrop of another headache facing the CECs, as there are only four CECs who were reappointed on January 17 after their contracts expired in November last year.

The four who had their contracts renewed include Mariam Mbaruk (Finance), Hazel Koitaba (Health), Godfrey Nato (Environment) and Tawfiq Balala who was taken to the Water department after serving at the Transport docket.

Mr Joho named the four after pressure mounted on him to appoint the officers.

The Commission for Human Rights and Justice (CHRJ), a Mombasa-based lobby, went to court in a bid to push Mr Joho to name the CECs.

The four CECs were named a day after the case was filed, with Mr Joho promising to name the rest at a later date.

To date, however, six departments are operating without CECs.

CHRJ executive director Julius Ogogoh accused the governor of “taking Mombasa residents for a ride”.

“Instead of seeking ways of cementing his legacy, he is running the county without enough CECs, no chief officers and less workers in some departments. Mombasa people have a right to get services from the person they elected to hold that office,” he said.