Nairobi Governor promises to deal with askaris harassing and extorting city residents
The governor has promised not to follow the example of other county bosses, but has vowed to deal ruthlessly with corrupt officers.
Governor Mike Sonko has said he will not sack county staff inherited from the Evans Kidero administration. He promised to work with all the employees – from county executive officers and chief officers to the more than 13,000 staff to improve service delivery in the city.
“I know that the county workers, starting from my Chief Officer Leboo Morintat to others, including the askari, did not vote for me. However, politics has come to an end and I understand they were practising their democratic rights. Other counties have suspended or fired their staff, but we will not be doing that in Nairobi,” said Sonko.
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Speaking at a meeting with the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) at City Hall yesterday, the city boss however warned that he would deal ruthlessly with corrupt officers. He also took issue with a number of county askari who he accused of harassing and extorting city residents, saying that their days were numbered.
“The only issue I have had with city askari is the individuals who killed a trader by stabbing him to death. The suspects will continue with their murder trial and if they are found innocent, they’ll be reinstated; if found guilty they will be imprisoned,” added Sonko.
To make good his threat of dealing with corrupt officers, Sonko ordered the immediate suspension of an officer in the cash office who was last week found with Sh7 million.
The meeting was convened by the matatu stakeholders who, among many things, called on the governor to streamline the city’s transport sector.
Association chairman Simon Kimutai was concerned that approximately 30 to 40 per cent of the income generated was used to bribe traffic police officers or lost in traffic jams. He said congestion had been brought about by the inconsiderate licensing of vehicles and urged the governor to hold back on the same.
Mr Kimutai also raised concerns about high parking fees, constant harassment by city inspectorate department officers, increase in seasonal tickets and cartels that he said were haemorrhaging the multi-million-shilling matatu industry.
“County officers impound our vehicles and the only window they give you is to bribe them with Sh5,000. Police officers also ask for bribes to avoid being taken to court and by the end of the day, we hardly make any profits,” he said.
On the issue of holding areas, he asked the county government to ensure that more spots were set up for picking up and dropping off passengers.