Anxiety has gripped a number of staff in counties following fears of massive job losses as more governors took office Monday, with a promise to effect sweeping changes to enhance service delivery.
Those to be affected include executive committee members, their chief officers, senior advisors, chief of staff, amongst others.
The county bosses are expected to appoint fresh faces to the respective dockets.
On Monday, Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga kicked up a storm after he promised to punish all county staff who did not support his re-election.
At his inauguration ceremony, Governor Rasanga said that it was immoral for such workers to continue working in his government.
“I want to tell those who supported all my opponents in the elections not to report to work today.
“Therefore they are forewarned as I will not take a pen and paper to sack them.
“But the public will do. It is wrong for such people to continue clinging to county government offices,” Mr Rasanga said.
However, contacted on Monday, former Transition Authority chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi faulted the move, saying the governor had no such powers, and that county employees were public officers recognised by the Constitution.
He described Mr Rasanga’s decision as an illegality that can easily be challenged in court.
“He should not run the county government like his own private company.
“The employees he is threatening to sack are civil servants duly protected by Kenyan laws.
“I want to warn him that it will cost him dearly if he makes good his threats,” Mr Wamwangi said.
He went on: Human rights are universal rights. They apply in every corner of the world.
“For an individual to wake up one day and decide to fire public officers that they don’t like or believe they are not advancing their own selfish agenda, is unfortunate. Such things should never be allowed in modern Kenya.”
Last week, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua suspended all financial operations in the county, sending on compulsory leave 437 financial officers among them procurement officers, accountants, auditors, directors.
“The move will allow a thorough ‘independent audit and suitability assessment of staff and financial systems and operations of Machakos County.
“This is part of a comprehensive radical surgery informed by my interactions with wananchi during the just concluded campaigns,” Dr Mutua said.
In Tharaka-Nithi, Governor Muthomi Njuki suspended 1,061 workers in an effort to clean county payroll.
In Kisii, Governor James Ongwae announced that his government will advertise all the positions of county executives and chief officers.
“During the campaigns, I received a very clear message from voters on service delivery and transparency. The electorate are my bosses and I will not let them down,” he said.
In Taita Taveta, Governor Granton Samboja appointed former permanent secretary (PS) Philemon Mwaisaka as his chief of staff and former PS Steven Mwaliko as economic advisor.
“I ask all CECs (county executive committee members) and county directors to meet us tomorrow (Tuesday) at the office to forge the way forward,” Governor Samboja said.
In Busia, Governor Sospeter Ojaamong promised to conduct a staff audit following allegations of graft touching on his senior managers.
“I will conduct a thorough vetting of all the staff before they are employed to ensure that some of the missteps witnessed in the last term are not repeated,” Mr Ojaamong said at his swearing-in ceremony at Busia stadium.
The same pledge was also made by his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya.
“I will not spare county executive committee members who fail to deliver after being appointed to serve in the positions,” he said.
In Nakuru, Governor Lee Kinyanjui and his Nyandarua counterpart Francis Kimemia also sent a stern warning to corrupt, lazy and inefficient staff in their county governments that their days were numbered.
So far, 43 governors have been sworn into office. The remaining four are expected to take over office Tuesday and Wednesday.
They are Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Joyce Laboso (Bomet).
Isiolo Governor Mohammed Kuti will be sworn in on Wednesday.
“Those who think my government will be a holiday resort when they are appointed to serve the public in key positions are in for a rude shock.
“They should show there will be no room for people who do not take their work seriously,” the County Chief warned.
Mr Njuki said the exercise will continue for the whole week until the payroll is ‘clean’.