Why Isiolo county secretary was sacked

County Secretary Galgalo

Isiolo County Secretary Ahmed Galgalo who has been sacked by new Governor Abdi Ibrahim Guyo over what is said to be poor leadership.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu I Nation Media Group

Poor administration and alleged gross misconduct were some of the reasons County Secretary Ahmed Galgalo was sacked by Governor Abdi Ibrahim Guyo, the Nation has established.

Dr Galgalo had occupied the powerful office in former governor Mohamed Kuti’s government since November 2017. He ran the show for several years and was the de facto deputy governor, calling the shots when the county boss was away.

Wrangling between Mr Kuti and his deputy Abdi Issa saw the latter isolated in the running of the government for most of their tenure, with Dr Galgalo filling the gap and representing the governor at almost all the local meetings that he could not attend.

Heading the Public Service, a county secretary coordinates day-to-day county activities, oversees implementation of government policies and drafts memoranda, policies and concept papers, and prepares county transition reports, among other duties.

Sources say Dr Galgalo misused the freedom in the last two years and deviated from Mr Kuti’s main agenda of good governance and better services.

“He was in a comfort zone and was not bothered about the continued complaints by residents over poor services and county employees’ poor working conditions,” a source said. 

“He also failed to coordinate the county's day-to-day activities, creating a crisis that enemies took advantage of to criticize Dr Kuti.”

With the governor’s health deteriorating especially during his last two years in office, the source said, the county secretary was expected to take charge and ensure there were no lapses in services.

At one point in December 2020, when the county government was under heated criticism over Covid-19 ICU patient beds at Isiolo Referral Hospital, Mr Kuti’s differences with Dr Galgalo played out in public.

The governor, during a performance management workshop at Rangelands, was angry that his camp was disintegrating by the day and some of his close allies were shifting their allegiance to his political foes, threatening his plans for reelection.

In fact, some of his political appointees, including county executives, chief officers and directors of departments, blatantly defied him, skipping his public events and presenting him as a loner.

Dr Kuti was particularly irked by the silence of his “foot soldiers” amid heated criticism and online bashing that were tarnishing his government’s image, giving his competitors an edge.

He was disappointed at how Dr Galgalo discharged his duties when Dr Kuti was busy with national engagements as the chairman of the Council of Governors’ Health Committee.

Hinting at a looming reshuffle, Dr Kuti said moles in his government, including senior county officials, would be hounded out.

“When I have government functions, I want to see government presence. You (Galgalo) are the one in charge and if I do not see that, I will start with you,” Dr Kuti warned Dr Galgalo, asking his cabinet, chief officers and directors to be proactive in marketing the county’s achievements.

The falling-out between Dr Kuti and Dr Galgalo, sources say, was so grave that the latter could not have survived in the new government.

“It was not a matter of if [he would be sacked] but when,” another source said, claiming that Dr Galgalo allegedly supported a gubernatorial candidate different from the one Dr Kuti backed.

Dr Kuti, months before August 9 elections, announced his fourth exit from active politics in his 20-year political career on health grounds.

He endorsed Abdi Ibrahim Guyo, the Nairobi County Assembly majority leader at the time. Mr Guyo has since taken over the reins after trouncing former governor Godana Doyo.

It is also claimed that Dr Galgalo colluded with some senior county officials to micromanage some of the powerful departments, thereby affecting services and output.

Dr Galgalo was on Tuesday ordered – through executive order No. 1 of 2022, dated August 26 – to vacate the office and hand over to Lands Chief Officer Yussuf Ibrahim, who will serve in acting capacity. 

Though Dr Galgalo had vowed to stay put until Governor Guyo explained why he was sacking him, he bowed to pressure later in the day.

He had claimed that he was dismissed for inviting Governor Guyo’s political foes to his inauguration ceremony, held at the Isiolo Boys School grounds on August 26.

Governor Guyo said in his letter to Dr Galgalo that sacking him was part of the reorganisation meant to improve services.

Addressing journalists, Dr Galgalo maintained that he had diligently discharged his duties and helped the county make significant strides.