After years of false starts, the Nairobi county government has finally introduced a biometric system to weed out ghost workers.
This is a problem that has plagued the county for a long time, bleeding the revenue and inflating its wage bill. But it should not be seen as the panacea for all the county’s woes. City Hall should bear in mind that technology is barely half of what is needed to clean up the rot.
Technology alone cannot resolve ethical rot at the root of City Hall’s mess. Ghost workers are ordinarily a symptom of corruption and collusion by city employees — even at fairly senior levels.
Unless the underlying ethical issues are tackled, employees could as well sabotage the new technology, defeating the purpose for which it was introduced.
The ghost workers are most likely there because there are unscrupulous people who have wanted them to be there, and who are evidently influential, given that the problem has lasted for so long.
Indeed, the issue of a bloated workforce has persisted in spite of previous attempts at addressing it.
This time, the issue must be conclusively addressed and the cartels that have for long put the county’s development on a choke hold dismantled.