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Ombudsman cautions governors on sackings

County workers, who have been unlawfully suspended or dismissed for “political reasons” have been asked to report to the Ombudsman for constitutional recourse.

In an advisory opinion, the Commission on Administrative Justice, popularly known as the Ombudsman said the firing of employees can only be done after the human resources and finance audits cited by governors are complete.

“It is not all lost because the affected workers still have that avenue of complaining to us and we will investigate,” Commissioner Saadia Mohamed said on Tuesday during a press briefing in Nairobi.

FIXED CONTRACTS

The Ombudsman’s acting chairperson Regina Mwatha asked governors to suspend the decision to send home workers, especially those on fixed contracts, saying they have been contravening Article 236(b).

The law states that “a public officer shall not be dismissed, removed from office, demoted in rank or otherwise subjected to disciplinary action without due process of law.”

In its opinion, governors should put on hold suspending or dismissing workers whose positions are secured under the law.

“Should a county government be found liable for breaching the law in relation to termination of employment, the governors should be held personally liable for any loss or cost against the county government arising therefrom in accordance with section 9 of the Leadership and Integrity Act.

“This would include a surcharge where payment of public funds has already been made,” Dr Mwatha said in the advisory.

Some of the staff who have been sent home in the devolved units include Executive Committee Members, chiefs of staff, personal advisors, as well as chief officers.

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