Workers push Kang’ata to pay them July, August salaries 

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Murang’a County government workers want Governor Irungu Kang’ata to pay them their July and August salaries.

In an August 31 letter signed by “County Workers Caucus”, they claim that salary delays had become normal in the past nine years and “the personal finance crisis accrued is collapsing our morals and integrity”.

“When most of us live in urban centres and in rental houses … we have families and credit burdens … you can imagine the hell and degradation we are living in the face of salary arrears,” reads the letter.

The workers said the administration of former governor Mwangi wa Iria mishandled the workforce to the point that some started corrupting services and others their morals to stay afloat.

They complained that the county had not been remitting their statutory deductions and had compromised even their health insurance schemes.

“In utter recklessness, the county has been recovering loan installments from our salaries but failing to remit them to our creditors hence risking auction against us,” the letter reads.

The worst hit, they said, are casuals who earn low salaries and are unable to save.

Dr Kang’ata, who is assembling his cabinet as he waits for the county assembly to start sittings, has publicly said he identifies with the workers’ dilemma.

Financial institutions

“I know and acknowledge that problem and we are doing all we can to rectify [it]. Soon, it will be predictable as to when all the 3,000 workers will be getting their salaries,” he said in an interview on Inooro TV on August 26.

He added that he would ask financial institutions “to partner with us into the future to beat salary delays when the exchequer delays in equitable share disbursement”.

He said he will have sorted the mess by the start of November.
On Wednesday, Dr Kang’ata met with water service providers and visited Murang’a Level Five and Muriranjas Level Four hospitals, promising to streamline medical supplies and services.

He said he had banned procurement of medical supplies from any source other than the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) “to beat cartels”.

He said Mr wa Iria left behind stalled projects, salary arrears, recurrent budget and unremitted statutory deductions totalling Sh7.2 billion.  

Legal fees

There are also pending payments to suppliers amounting to Sh1.6 billion and unsettled legal fees of Sh200 million.

Mr Wa Iria did not show up at Dr Kang’ata’s swearing-in ceremony held at General Ihura Stadium on August 25. He is in court for suspected theft of Sh542 million and is being investigated over a further Sh300 million meant for establishing and expanding the Murang’a County Creameries (MCC).

Dr Kang’ata said the county anticipates to get Sh7 billion as equitable share, Sh500 million in conditional grants and Sh500 million from local revenues. That leaves him with a deficit of Sh1 billion and no development budget.

“The recurrent expenditure is 45 percent of the whole revenue, which is illegal since all counties are supposed to limit themselves at 35 percent,” he said.

Dr Kang’ata said he believes in settling genuine debts and will first audit the bills and honour only deserving ones.

“I suspect foul play in the bills … We will screen the bills and those that will pass the test of integrity will be paid,” he said.

He pledged to digitise services so as to curb corruption and increase revenues, and create a debt-payment schedule.

Agricultural sector 

He also wants to improve the agricultural sector and increase earnings, and battle cartels in the public health sector that steal medicines and commercialise services.

“Spare the celebrations for our win, let us celebrate fulfilment of my promises to you,” he said. 

“I will meet all the pledges I made in my campaign … Our MCAs will get the ward development fund, our youths will be empowered, the promises to our women stand, every other promise I made remains binding.”

He had also promised to address the land management crisis, where titling is erratic, fraud rampant, families, especially the poor and widows, are dispossessed, and corrupt brokers conspire with government officers to burden the county with court cases aimed at steal properties.

Dr Kang’ata said his government would be inclusive in decision-making and will have an open-door policy.

He reached out to his six competitors in the August 9 elections to share their ideas.

Dr Kang’ata scooped the governor’s seat with 256,561 votes followed by Jubilee’s Jamleck Kamau, who received 91,164. Others in the race were the Democratic Party’s Joseph Wairagu (42,318), Irungu Nyakera of the Farmers Party (21,150), and Dr Moses Mwangi of Safina (4,370).  

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