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Senate to grill Laikipia governor on recent move to lay off 176 employees

The  Senate Committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations will summon the Laikipia governor, Ndiritu Muriithi to shed light on his recent move to lay off 176 county workers.

The Committee Chairman who is also the Laikipia Senator, John Kinyua said that the Senate was keen to find out the rationale used to declare the county employees redundant.

Speaking on Sunday in Nanyuki when he accompanied former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Mwangi Kiunjuri on a funds drive in aid of PCEA church, Kinyua said it was disheartening that when the country was grappling with high unemployment, a devolved unit was firing its workers.

“The County Assembly had approved funds to cater for a sendoff package for employees who wished to go on early and voluntary retirement but now we are seeing the workers issued with redundancy letters sending them home. This is unacceptable,” Kinyua said.

He said the sacking of the employees was worrying bearing in mind it came barely a year after the same county government sacked 61 doctors for allegedly engaging in an illegal strike.

“Why would you layoff a sweeper under the pretext that they are computer illiterate? Who needs a degree in computer technology to know how to sweep?” quipped Kinyua.

Last week, the Laikipia County Public Service Board (CPSB) announced laying off the workers in an effort to trim its ballooning wage bill that stood at 58 percent of the total County government expenditure.

Acting County Secretary, Karanja Njora said in a statement that the devolved unit had issued a general redundancy notice to all staff, labour office and unions on January 8, 2020, adding that the board had identified 176 employees whose positions would no longer be tenable.

“The process of identifying the employees was conducted in accordance with the law and fairness was adhered to ensure it was carried out in a humane manner. The affected staff will be trained, counseled and given a good sendoff package to help them begin a new life,” Njora said.

A staff audit conducted by the CPSB between June 24 and August 17 last year revealed among other things that out of the 3,179 county employees, 254 did not possess a single academic certificate.

Kiunjuri who was the chief guest at the church function told the congregation that he would continue to champion the rights of residents of central Kenya despite leaving the government.

By  Martin Munyi

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