Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Saturday, 24 Sep 2016 11:32 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
In a surprising turn of events, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has ordered that dozens of revenue collection officers recently suspended for corruption be reinstated to work with immediate effect. The county’s Public Service Board last week suspended 72 officers, most of them clerks, in order to undertake investigation into revenue losses at their work stations.
The governor has now overruled the Board and asked that the workers, who work under the Finance department, be redeployed to other departments across the county. He based his decision on the need to ensure that workers do not suffer income losses associated with the suspensions.
“I mind about the welfare of my employees and I will not allow them to suffer. The decision by the board is therefore rescinded, and the officers will be redeployed to other departments," the governor said.
The governor also stopped the Board’s scheduled recruitment of 115 new officers to replace the ones under suspension. The Board, which is generally supportive of the governor, had initiated the corruption investigation against the workers last week as a way of resolving what insiders termed as “gross anomalies” in their hiring.
“The Board had received numerous complaints of corruption from wananchi but it couldn’t take action against the workers because many of them had no appointment letters,” the source said. “The absence of appointment letters means that the disciplinary process that applies to the county public servants could not be initiated against them without first suspending them,” added the source.
However, speaking at the Kathiani-Kakuyuni-Kangundo road during an inspection tour of the road, the governor, however, said he was keen to avoid disruption in service delivery, saying his administration was committed to offering quality services to residents.
The road is being tarmacked by the county government, and Governor Mutua cited it as more evidence of his transformative leadership, promising that other key roads across the county would be upgraded to bitumen standard.
The governor said his administration had embarked on a plan to rehabilitate the Mulu Mutisya Gardens in Machakos Town. He promised that a statue of honouring the late Mutisya, the reigning Ukambani leader for much of three decades between the 1980s to early 2000s, would be constructed by the next year.
The governor also promised boda boda operators that that 350 sheds will be constructed for them to provide a conducive environment. He expressed his commitment to ensure the promotion of informal sector enterpreneurs.
After months of keeping a low profile to deal with corruption allegations that have haunted his administration for the better part of the year, Governor Mutua returned to an aggressive political programme in recent weeks, visiting nearly every sub-county in Machakos over the last month.
He has also launched a political party, the Maendeleo Chap Chap, on whose ticket he has promised to defend his seat in the next elections. The governor is also courting new political allies he expects to help him in a re-election challenge already shaping up. The popular Wiper Party, on whose ticket he won in 2013, is expected to campaign against him.
The suspension of the 72 finance department workers came as a blot to the governor, who has faced accusations of irregular hiring in the past. His opponents have alleged, with some degree of proof, that senior county administrators were hired on the basis of nepotism.
For instance, during a recent funeral service for a top county official related to Mutua, residents were shocked at the high number of their colleagues who were also related to the deceased. Mutua, however, confronts those allegations by pointing to successful projects the county government has completed.