From someone who has been receiving praise at every turn, Dr Matiang’i is now neck-deep in murky waters.
She alleges that her sacking was wrongful and she wants Sh2.4 million in compensation.
Stinging reactions from Kenyans have pushed Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i into an unfamiliar territory since Friday when news emerged of an airport guard suing after being sacked.
There has been scathing criticism by Kenyans of different persuasions questioning the role he played in the sacking of Ms Daisy Cherogony from her post as a security supervisor at Kenya Airports Authority.
In papers she has filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court, Ms Cherogony says she was fired because she asked Dr Matiang’i to queue like other passengers when he went to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in April for a flight to Kisumu.
After the drama, she says, Dr Matiang’i called his counterpart in the Transport ministry James Macharia, and what followed was her dismissal.
Mr Macharia, in an interview with NTV on Friday, confirmed having received a call from Dr Matiang’i that day but said that was not the only case the guard had with her employer.
INVESTIGATED THE MATTER
“The complaint by the Education CS came through my office… I forwarded information to KAA which investigated the matter.
I am aware that this is the third incident that Ms Chepkurui (Daisy) was involved in,” Mr Macharia said.
Dr Matiang’i took to his Twitter account on Friday evening to fight off the claims by Ms Cherogony, also banking on the idea that the guard had other issues with her employer.
“I wonder if anyone has perused the severance letter of this officer. It refers to a disciplinary process in February,” wrote Dr Matiang’i.
“How could she have been disciplined because of me in April while the documents show a process started in February?”
The Education CS insisted that he has never gone through an airport “in and out of the country” without security clearance, adding that the new claims were “callous fabrications”.
But not many Kenyans are convinced by Dr Matiangi’s explanation.
“We want the footage for that day, then we shall decide for ourselves. Otherwise you will only write what favours you,” wrote Harry on Twitter.
“Matiang’i should apologise to the innocent woman who has become a victim of her own job regulations,” added Jacob.
Evah posted: “Don’t defend yourself. Own up and sort it out with the lady and her employer.
Don’t allow this to happen again.” And Samuel said: “I think that lady is an excellent worker, she has something many don’t to make the mighty queue. She needs a better job”.
William noted: “Impunity. The boss should resign ASAP.”
One of the few people to come to Dr Matiangi’s defence is Mr Ezekiel Mutua, the CEO of the Kenya Film Classification Board.
“This matter is being politicised. So Matiang’i should not have complained? The lady has three other cases, why this one?” wrote Mr Mutua on Saturday.
PLIGHT OF WORKERS
The case amplifies the plight of workers who have lost jobs for applying the law to “senior” people in the government.
Mr Moss Ndiema, the secretary-general of the Kenya Aviation Workers Union, said that anyone who is not recognised in writing as a special Kenyan should not expect preferential treatment.
Speaking to NTV, he said: “Our members are not required… to memorise and remember the faces of all the who-is-who in this country.”
Mr Ndiema added that in the past two months, a number of KAA workers had been fired in similar circumstances.