Counties

Kinyua now orders civil servants back to work

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chief of staff and head of public service Joseph Kinyua on Thursday ordered all civil servants to report to work on Friday after thousands unilaterally extended their break past the holiday granted on Election Day.

Joseph Kinyua, through a memo, instructed all principal secretaries to summon their staff to work immediately, promising undisclosed action on absconders.

“Following the successful and peaceful conduct of the general elections, all public servants are required to report to their work stations with immediate effect,” Mr Kinyua says in the memo whose authenticity the Business Daily confirmed.

“Consequently, you (PSs) are required to forward to this office, by close of business on Friday August 11, names of all those who will have reported for work in your respective ministries/departments.”

Civil servants across the country were to report to work Wednesday -- a day after the election -- but many, like their peers in the private sector, chose to stay at home as anxiety gripped the nation with the opposition Nasa’s rejection of provisional results of the presidential election.

It was, however, unclear if Mr Kinyua’s order affects independent commissions, parastatals and employees of Parliament.

A spot-check by the Business Daily at the Department of Immigration and several Huduma Centres in the capital found that operations had resumed.

At Immigration, however, services were only limited to collection of ready passports but no new applications forms downloaded from the e-citizen portal were being received.

The Huduma Centre next to Nairobi’s General Post Office (GPO) was packed as usual.

“Kenyans may visit any of our Huduma Centres countrywide to receive services they may require,” Sicily Kariuki, the Public Service secretary, said on Twitter as she reiterated Mr Kinyua’s sentiment that employees need to resume work. 

Standing at Sh627 billion annually, the public payroll gobbles up half of revenue collections and compensates 700,000 public officials who represent less than two per cent of the population.

Many public servants elected to stay at home despite there being no official communication allowing them to keep off work, prompting Mr Kinyua’s terse intervention.

Thousands of business premises in Nairobi, the country’s capital and economic powerhouse, have remained under lock and key since Tuesday. Consumer goods manufacturer Bidco shut down its factories for 24 hours and resumed operations on Wednesday morning, but most of its customers stayed away awaiting the outcome of the election before picking stocks.

Activity at shopping malls – such as TRM along Thika Road was subdued with the few shops that opened for the day sending their staff home before the official closing time.

Safaricom, the country’s leading telecom firm, closed most of its customer care shops countrywide for two days since Tuesday.

Kenya’s elections have always come with a measure apprehension. This was heightened Wednesday after opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga claimed that the electoral body’s systems were hacking to favour President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) denied the hacking claim, adding that it expects to have received all presidential results by 11 am today after which it will declare the winner of the hotly-contested race.

Nasa co-principal Musalia Mudavadi on Thursday reiterated the party’s position that the results are doctored, demanding that the IEBC declare Mr Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka victors.

--- Additional reporting from Neville Otuki