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Counties

Tharaka-Nithi contractors protest over jobs given to 'outsiders'

Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki (centre) during during launch of upgrading of Kabauni-Materi Girls' High School in Tharaka constituency on February 9, 2018.
Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki (centre) during during launch of upgrading of Kabauni-Materi Girls' High School in Tharaka constituency on February 9, 2018. Photo | Alex Njeru | NMG 

Contractors based in Tharaka-Nithi County held demonstrations Wednesday claiming the the devolved unit has failed to award them tenders.

They marched to Governor Muthomi Njuki's office in Kathwana where they sought to present their grievances to the county boss.

Together with their employees, they accuse Mr Njuki's administration of awarding tenders to what they termed as 'outsiders' and to companies they claim are owned by top county officials.

Mr Anderson Mutembei, the local contractors association vice chairperson, said none of its members has been given a tender since Mr Njuki took office last year.

"We have resolved to hold demonstrations to the governor's office to demand our rights as local contractors," said Mr Mutembei.

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Ms Julia Wanja, chair-lady of the women contractors group, adds the county had not paid about Sh600 million for work done by the previous administration.

"We have all the documents for the work we did and we will be holding demonstrations to the governor's office every Wednesday until he pays us," said Ms Wanja.

She alleged that the contractor working on the governor's new office apartment is linked to one of his chief officers.

Probe bill

Responding to the complaints, Governor Njuki said he had constituted a committee to investigate a Sh1 billion pending bill that he inherited from his predecessor.

He, however, maintains that most of the unpaid contractors are fake and would not be getting any money from county coffers.

"I cannot pay fake contracts and that is why investigations are going on," said Mr Njuki today.

He also denied giving jobs to companies owned by county staff but maintained that he will continue to hire outsiders saying most local contractors do not meet the requirements.

In response to the protest, he maintained a hard-line stance, vowing not to bow to intimidation by quacks who benefited from the previous government.

Mr Njuki says his government adheres to procurement laws requiring thirty per cent of tenders be set aside for women, youths and those living with disability.

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