Kawira Mwangaza tries to allay fears about sackings after audit

Kawira Mwangaza

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza inspects some of the county vehicles at Kinoru stadium on September 5, 2022 during a drivers' headcount.

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has sought to allay fears that her administration would fire workers after the ongoing workforce audit is completed.

Governor Mwangaza called for an audit parade amid claims that vehicles and other government property are missing.

Mr Peter Mwika, the county fleet manager, said there were 263 vehicles and 210 drivers, with 34 vehicles said to be in repair garages.

Speaking at Kinoru Stadium during a headcount of drivers and vehicles on Monday, Governor Mwangaza said the review would facilitate effective services.

Among other issues, the governor wants to establish the condition of county vehicles, whether they are insured and the employment status of the drivers.

“The intent of this exercise is to establish the welfare of drivers and the state of our vehicles before we set out to work. This is not a witch-hunt exercise. We will ensure drivers who do not have vehicles get one or are assigned other duties,” Ms Mwangaza said.

She said the workforce audit would be extended to other departments.

Governor Mwangaza had also ordered an audit of more than 200 boreholes sunk by former governor Kiraitu Murungi’s administration to establish whether they were all drilled by the county government.

She said she would call in the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate staff and officers in the former administration over loss of government property.

Kawira Mwangaza

Some of the Meru County government vehicles at Kinoru stadium on September 5, 2022 during a drivers' headcount. 

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

The findings had confirmed reports that several county vehicles had been converted for personal use, she said.

“Due to this, all county government drivers should [come to] Kinoru Stadium on Monday. Each driver should produce the appointment letter and stand by their vehicle. We want to know how many vehicles are in our hands, in the garage or missing,” the governor said.

In December 2018, former deputy governor Titus Ntuchiu ordered an audit on the county fleet, saying some vehicles could not be accounted for.

Speaking during Jamhuri Day celebrations at Kinoru Stadium, Mr Ntuchiu, who was also the Finance executive, directed all drivers to deliver vehicles to the county headquarters on December 20 for stock taking.

“We have so many vehicles but we do not know where some of them are. I direct that all vehicles be brought to the county headquarters on Thursday next week, without fail,” he said at the time.

The county assembly had recommended a car-pooling plan to maximise the usage of existing vehicles and save money for development.

In 2019, the county government announced a plan to lease official vehicles and road construction equipment in order to cut recurrent expenditure.

A report prepared by the assembly’s transport and public works committee in 2018 said all county road works machinery were held by mechanics due to pending bills while others had stalled for lack of funds for fuel and servicing.