24 May 2019

Kenya: Sonko Reshuffles Cabinet Amid Warning Over Corruption, Sloth

Photo: Evans Habil/Nairobi News
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko addressing participants during the disbursement of Nairobi County bursery at Charter Hall in Nairobi on April 2,2019.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has reshuffled his cabinet for the third time this year a day after reading a riot act to his executives over increased corruption cases and lethargy.

Lands and Housing executive Charles Kerich has been moved to the Finance and Economic Planning docket, swapping places with Winfred Gathagu.

On Wednesday, the governor said he would not hesitate to fire lazy and corrupt members of his administration, vowing to continue his policy of firing and reshuffling county executives and chief officers.

GRAFT ACCUSATIONS

"I'm being blamed for constantly reshuffling or firing my executives, but I will not stop because some are just playing golf instead of coming to work while others are hiding documents from investigators who come here to investigate corrupt dealings. Like today (Wednesday), I'm going to do a reshuffle," said Mr Sonko during the launch of a biometric registration and identification system for county workers.

Mr Kerich now returns to a docket he held briefly in an acting capacity last year. He also once held the ICT and Health departments, in acting capacity. Ms Gathagu is also a former Economic Planning chief officer.

Ms Gathagu's might have landed in trouble as early as Monday, when the governor made an impromptu visit to all executive offices to check on the staff present.

During the visit, which was captured LIVE on his Facebook page, he found the Finance executive absent and instructed the officers with him to take note.

"Some of my executives come here as angels but as soon as they join the cartels they change. I want to tell them today I will not hesitate to fire them because some think that because they were brought here by godfathers they cannot be fired," he said.

DN Briefs text: This is the sixth reshuffle since the governor assumed office in August 2017. In that period, he sacked a Finance executive (Danvas Makori) and a county secretary (Peter Kariuki) and did not renew the contracts of two executives (Emmah Muthoni and Peter Wachira).

CITY HALL MESS

The first rejigging of the Cabinet was on February 26, 2018 followed by another in April and then again in August. In 2019, two reshuffles happened -- in January and April -- before this latest one.

Mr Sonko has accused his executives of being involved in corrupt dealings behind his back, vowing to invite officers from the DCI and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate them.

Earlier this month, acting County Secretary Pauline Kahiga was arrested by EACC detectives for concealment of crucial evidence pertaining to current investigations going on at the county.

"I am aware that some county executives have been hiding documents requested by investigative bodies and that is why you see EACC coming to City Hall from time to time. I will not tolerate this and it will not allowed in my administration," he said.

He pointed out that some accountants at the Finance Department went behind his back to alter details of bursaries that were to be disbursed to various needy students in schools across the county diverting the money to private accounts delaying the issuance of the cheques to schools.

"This is why I have been carrying out the reshuffles I have been castigated for. I will continue doing so because of such happenings in the county. I know innocent children are suffering but the Controller of Budget is still carrying out some verification before we can go ahead to disburse the cheques," said the governor.

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