MY RESPONSE TO CARELESS, MALICIOUS AND MISLEADING REPORTS BY MEDIA HOUSES ALLEGING THAT I HAVE SUSPENDED OVER 500 MEMBERS OF STAFF
I am a little perturbed by some baseless and malicious allegations published in all the major dailies dated Tuesday, 22 October, 2019 that, since I assumed office as Governor of Nairobi City County, I have fired or suspended over 500 county employees.
The Daily Nation, on page 6 reported “over three hundred,” while The Standard, on page 21, reported over 500.
For the second time in a row, The Star on page 23 repeated the same sick lie that I have fired or suspended over 500 workers.
This comes hot on the heels of a similar story they published on October 06, 2019 putting that number at over 500.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
If anything, this level of carelessness in reporting is a pointer to dangerous levels of laziness and lethargy that have engulfed media houses, where journalists pick rumours from across bar tables and urinals, and publish them without bothering to authenticate or even verify whatever is presented to them as news.
As far as I am concerned, we have only suspended 46 members of county staff on five specific occasions, including the 16 suspended recently following the collapse of a building at the Precious Talent School in Dagoretti, killing 8 innocent children and injuring scores others.
Of all those suspended, we have reinstated 16 so far after they were cleared through the established internal disciplinary mechanisms.
I even reinstated my own chief of staff and two CECMs after they were cleared by investigating agencies.
SUMMARY OF SUSPENSIONS
First, within months of assuming office, we suspended 7 county revenue officers after a sting operation found them with over Ksh7 million of county money, that was supposed to have been banked, hidden in their private parts.
These revenue officers even went and sued us at the Employment & Labour Relations Court challenging the basis and my power as the County CEO to interdict county officers.
Justice Helen Wasilwa upheld their interdiction in ELRC Petition No. 79 of 2017 holding in Paragraph 35 & 36 of the Judgement:
“Interdiction is indeed part of an employer’s disciplinary process where the employer is convinced that an indiscipline has been occasioned by the employee….This court has over and over again stated that it would not interfere with the employer’s disciplinary processes unless the same is flawed. If this is not done this could be akin to micro-managing the human resource functions of the employees.”
The Judge quoted the Court of Appeal in the JSC vs Gladys Boss Shollei where it was stated “Courts cannot micro-manage the human resource function of other institutions be they in the public or private sector.”
Second, we suspended 5 legal officers after they were implicated in running a cartel that used fake land rates default claims to dispossess Nairobi owners of their property with impunity. Others were implicated in entering into illegal consents to compel the County to make illegal payments for no-services delivered. They were charged and their criminal cases are pending in the anti-corruption court.
Third, we sent 12 county procurement officers on compulsory leave after a request by the County Director of Procurement to investigate irregularities touching on the sector which could not be done without interference while they were still in office.
On June 1, 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta did the same at the National Government level, suspending all heads of finance and procurement in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). And, like the President, we reinstated all the procurement officers who were cleared but others including the Director of Procurement were charged for abuse of office and their criminal case is pending in court.
Fourth, we suspended 6 health sector officers for incompetence and insubordination after the death of 12 babies at Pumwani Hospital last year. The matter was investigated and concluded and we have since reinstated those who were cleared through the disciplinary process. However, some of the officers suspended at the time were implicated in other cases and are still undergoing laid-down disciplinary measures.
Lastly, I suspended 16 officials responsible for development control and enforcement officials recently following the death of 8 innocent children at the Precious Talent School after the collapse of an illegal class building. Each of the suspended officers was duly issued with a letter to show cause. It is true that primary education is a national government function, but the Nairobi City County Government is responsible for development control, approval and inspection of all buildings in the County to certify them as fit for occupation.
PROOF OF MALICE
Following the Likoni ferry tragedy that claimed the TWO (2) innocent lives of a mother and her daughter (God bless their souls), President Uhuru Kenyatta SACKED the entire Kenya Ferry Services board, and it was never reported by the same newspapers as a crisis.
Below is a comparison of the headlines by the same newspapers following the SACKING of the KFS Board by the President, against my SUSPENSION of 16 county officers following the death of EIGHT (8) innocent children:
1. DAILY NATION:
PRESIDENT UHURU HEADLINE: Uhuru Fires Inept Kenya Ferry Board
SONKO HEADLINE: Sonko’s trouble keeping friends as he lives in ‘unfounded fears’ https://bit.ly/2MrMG7c
2. THE STANDARD:
PRESIDENT UHURU HEADLINE: Uhuru dissolves Kenya Ferry Services board after car tragedy: https://bit.ly/2MPvbfV
SONKO HEADLINE: Sonko turns city into theatre of the absurd: https://bit.ly/2IYzfcs
3. THE STAR:
PRESIDENT UHURU HEADLINE:* Uhuru fires Kenya Ferry Services board after Likoni tragedy: https://bit.ly/32AijkF
SONKO HEADLINE: Sonko, MCAs clash over erratic staff suspensions: https://bit.ly/2VP6J2r
4. PEOPLE DAILY:
PRESIDENT UHURU HEADLINE: Uhuru sacks Kenya Ferry chairperson Dan Mwazo: https://bit.ly/32qCJwe
SONKO HEADLINE: It was grave oversight to let Nairobi be county: https://bit.ly/2puAMAp
The above summary can only be attributed to lazy individuals within the media fraternity who have teamed up with my political detractors and the cartels I have been destroying at City Hall, to create a mountain out of a molehill, while pursuing narrow interests that are of no value to the great people of Nairobi, and Kenya in general.
As I stated before, there is no end in sight for my suspending or firing of corrupt and inept officials in my administration, until the day I will succeed in inculcating the right work culture and ethic amongst all the employees of the Nairobi City County Government. That is the only way I will be able to actualize my promise of reclaiming the long, lost glory of the “Green City Under the Sun.”
Those who think that splashing alarmist headlines in the media will change my tough and unwavering stand against corruption and impunity will be in for a rude shock, and a long ride.
In delivering my inaugural speech on August 21, 2017, I assured all the residents of the City that Nairobi will never be the same again, and I remain committed to my transformative agenda.
In the meantime, haya magazeti ni ya kufunga nyama jioni na tuendelee kuchapa kazi!
H.E. Mike Mbuvi Sonko, EGH
Governor, Nairobi City County
Dated: Wednesday , 23 October 2019