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Malombe meets county workers to strengthen working relationship

 Kitui Governor Julius Malombe is set to meet some 4,000 county government workers today to build a responsive, participatory and consensus-oriented governance after the August 9 General Elections.


Kitui Governor Julius Malombe during his swearing-in ceremony presided over by Machakos High Court Judge Justice George Odunga at the Kitui’s Ithookwe Showground on August 25, 2022. MWINGI TIMES/Paul Mutua

The meeting to be held at the Ithookwe Showground in Kitui Central will draw workers from all the eight sub counties. It will also aim to quicken the political healing process and address pressing issues that affect service delivery to the people.

Sources privy to the meeting said Malombe and his deputy Augustine Kanani, will use the opportunity to interact with the workers to get to know and understand the challenges they face in the course of duty at their respective stations.

Yesterday, the Kenya County Government Workers Union Kitui branch chairman Timothy Mbuvi Mwangangi said the governor’s move to have a working rapport with the staff will enable his administration deliver on his campaign pledges to the residents with ease.

Mr Mwangangi said the workers were optimistic and enthusiastic that the myriad of difficulties they have faced in the course of duty will be a thing of the past during Malombe’s tenure in office.

“The governor’s tray is full. From demoralisation, victimisation, poor or lack of remuneration to streamlining of promotions, Malombe will have to put his foot down for better services to mwananchi,” the workers’ union chairperson said.

He said other matters of urgency which should be tackled include rehabilitation and/or repair of machinery such as vandalised county government vehicles, agricultural tractors and infrastructural road earth movers among many others.

Mwangangi said they will also be looking forward to answers from the governor on workers’ insurances, tools of work, field allowances and equitable and fair treatment to all workers across the eight sub counties.

He said they were further hopeful that Malombe will fulfill his election pledges in confirming and employing some 2,500 Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) teachers on permanent and pensionable basis. The governor also promised to transform the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) into Community Health Workers and absorb them in his government.

The workers’ union chairperson together with the Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary, Kitui branch, Newton Kimanzi, hailed the governor for timely August salaries payment barely five days after he was sworn into office on August 25 indicating a dawn of shift of service as opposed in the past.

However, hours to the meeting, a group of county government workers went to the social media platforms accusing the union officials of “going to bed” with the former regime at a time of their need.

“Timo (Chair) must be faced head on. He was very sleepy and quiet when his payment vouchers were being paid by Mbee Nzei (former regime). Mbee Nzei is gone, done and dusted. When the majority of us had their allowances screwed up, when Chief Officers had zero respect for our deserved pay! That era is gone. No apologies! We're cleaning up, whether softly or roughly. That’s the bottomline,” one worker protested with fury on social media.

But in a quick rejoinder, Mwangangi said the “shouting voices” were trying to create a rift in the workers’ union to weaken it and fail to have force and ability to hold into account some of the rogue officers in the former government.

Speaking during his swearing-in ceremony, Malombe pledged in his 100 days in office that he will revive the county’s economy and rekindle people’s hope and aspiration by essentially having a county stock taking and mapping exercise.

He said the move was aimed at facilitating in-depth and clear appreciation of the county financial status including bank balances, human resource status including outstanding staff salaries, inventory of county asset and pending bills and other contractual commitments, outstanding staff salaries, review and ascertainment of the reports of the Assumption of Office of Governors report concerning county assets, bank balances and much more.

Complete abandoned projects

He said they will also undertake completion of abandoned projects.

“Fellow county citizens, I am aware our peoples expectations are very high particularly considering the extent service delivery has deteriorated over the last five years. Nonetheless, we have no choice but to join hands and tackle the issues head on as there is no room for retreat, surrender or quitting,” Malombe said.

The governor said he will resuscitate the development and transformation’s vision and agenda for the county in seeking to progressively improve residents’ livelihoods.

The governor who bounced back into county leadership after losing the gubernatorial seat to the former immediate predecessor Mrs Charity Ngilu in 2017 said he will also seek to lead a county with vibrant rural and urban economies whose people enjoyed high quality of life.

Mrs Ngilu who did not defend her seat was conspicuously absent at the event presided over by Machakos High Court Judge Justice George Odunga. Wiper party leader Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka joined in some hours later.

“The electioneering period is now over and the hard work to reclaim, restore and transform the beloved county has begun. My leadership is premised on transformative, inclusive, equitable, consultative, and participatory leadership based on values and principles of efficient service delivery and an enabling socio-economic environment, motivated, qualified, and competent staff, capacity building, staff welfare including timely payment of salaries,” Malombe said.

The governor further said his leadership will zero in on prompt and non-discriminatory payment to suppliers and contractors and affirmative action for Persons living With Disabilities, minorities, youth and women and the elderly.

He named agriculture, water, health, education, urban development, roads and construction, trade and investment, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), cooperative societies, tourism and hospitality, women, youth and persons with disabilities as his pillars to drive the county into prosperity.

Malombe said in the five years that he was in office (2013-2017), his administration demonstrated that it was possible for the county to change the outlook of its gloomy past. He said his term as the Kitui County pioneer governor began with serious concerns about its destiny.

“There were many challenges faced then and these will remain the key focus of our development agenda in 2022-2027. These include poverty, water and food shortages, mediocre education, health and sanitation standards, poor road infrastructure, inadequate mobile telephony network coverage and unemployment particularly among the youth,” he said.


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