The fate of most Nairobi County government chief officers hangs in the balance after their annual contracts with City Hall lapsed.
Last Thursday, Governor Mike Sonko ordered the 23 chief officers to hand over to directors in their respective departments.
This came just a day after the governor publicly criticised members of his Cabinet over involvement in corrupt dealings and laziness at work and promised to fire or reshuffle affected officers. Mr Sonko has now put on hold the renewal of the officers’ contracts through an executive order as he seeks to evaluate their performance.
Communications director Elkana Jacob confirmed that the renewal of the contracts had been put on hold to appraise the performance of the officers with some likely to be retained while others will be relieved of their duties.
“We are waiting for a comprehensive statement from the appointing authority that will be communicated soon. Thereafter, we will then know who we will retain and which posts we will retain,” said Mr Jacob.
A county chief officer is the equivalent of a principal secretary at the national government. They are charged with the day-to-day operations of a department and are answerable to the County Executive Committee Member of a particular department.
The chief officer also has the power to deploy a county public officer within a department, as well as policy administrators and accounting officers of their departments. If some of the chief officers are relieved of duties, it would take longer to have new ones in place because City Hall currently does not have a properly constituted board.
Currently, Nairobi County Public Service Board has only four members — chairperson Philip Kung’u, CEO and Secretary Meshack Gutto as well as two members, Maurice Wambua and Josephine Gichui.
This is after three other members — Vesca Kangogo, Charity Kisotu and Chomba Munyi — left before their terms expired. The tenure of the remaining members is also set to expire in June.