‘Professional Rat-Catchers’ Among 176 Govt Employees Fired

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A photo of Acting Laikipia County Secretary Karanja Njora addressing journalists in his Nanyuki office on February 29, 2020.

Laikipia County on February 26, announced its intention to trim its wage bill from 58% and bring it down to 35% in line with the Public Finance Management Act 2012. 

In a press statement, acting County Secretary, Karanja Njora informed that the county leadership risked jail time if it did not address the ballooning recurring expenditure. 

According to a report published in the Daily Nation, the County Public Service Board (CPSB) issued a general redundancy notice on January 8, 2020.

Once the notice was given, an eclectic group of personnel that included rodent catchers, herdsmen, and market masters were counted among the 176 set to lose their jobs.

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Acting Laikipia County Secretary Karanja Njora addressing journalists in his Nanyuki office on February 29, 2020.

Daily Nation

“To this effect, the board has identified 176 employees whose positions will no longer be tenable; employees occupying them are not gainfully engaged,” qualified the acting county secretary.

Karanja Njora, explaining the strange set of skills, highlighted that the roles were anchored in the defunct local authority.

“In the defunct local authority, we had positions of market masters, rodent catchers, herdsmen, and senior cleaning supervisors. The staff who were performing those duties had to be moved to other positions and this required them to further their education. Those who failed to further their studies remained idle and as a result, they had to go,” Njora is quoted by the Daily Nation

Addressing the strange set of professionals who were still under the government payroll, Njora gave the circumstances under which the posts were created.

“There is a time we had lots of rats in our markets and the solution was to hire staff to catch them. As a society, we have embraced high hygiene standards. The staff was rendered idle,” qualified Njora addressing the question of the rodent catchers. 

On the question of the herdsmen, Njora explained that the defunct county council once had holding grounds for livestock which necessitated the employment of herdsmen.

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A photo of Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi addressing residents during the release of the county's annual financial report, in Nanyuki on September 5, 2019.

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi addressing residents during the release of the county’s annual financial report, in Nanyuki on September 5, 2019.

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Daily Nation

The layoffs were intended to free up more money from the recurrent expenditure for development projects. Laikipia had previously been spending Ksh190.8 billion in salaries for its 3,179 workers.

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi expressed his intention to continue efforts to redirect expenditure from salaries to development. 

“We cannot continue paying wages and salaries to people who have no real work that they are doing. We need more money for development so that what we do as a government is commensurate with the expectations of the citizens,” voiced the governor. 

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