Sakaja orders release of impounded motorbikes, withdrawal of cases against riders

Nairobi Governor-elect Johnson Sakaja.

Nairobi Governor-elect Johnson Sakaja displays his certificate after being declared by IEBC the winner at the Kasarani Tallying centre in Nairobi on August 14, 2022.

Photo credit: John Muchucha | Nation Media Group

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja on Monday directed that all impounded motorcycles by City Hall and associated with petty offenses be released.

The new governor made the directive at City Hall while meeting with county government employees.

Sakaja directed the county staff to identify drop off and pick up points for boda bodas and electronic taxis to allow them operate in an orderly manner and prevent harassment.

He however asked boda bodas and hawkers to operate within the law, saying freedom was not limitless.

The cases against the riders whose motorbikes had been impounded will also be withdrawn with immediate effect.

During the meeting, the new county boss implored the workers to work diligently and deliver for Nairobi residents.

“I will be honest and candid with you. I will not promise you heaven but play your part and I will play my part. We want to ask you to trust us and work with us. What has been missing in Nairobi County is leadership, and we are here now,” Sakaja said.

He told them that he, in turn would ensure that their salaries and allowances are paid on time, they will be equipped with the necessary tools and protected from external forces that often interfere with their work.

“Even within City Hall and the county government we need order. Salaries have to be paid on time. You have many unpaid allowances. Some of your statutory deductions were diverted like for NSSF, NHIF, sacco, Lapfund, and Laptrust. This will all be sorted out,” said Mr Sakaja.

Nairobi city county government has over 13,000 employees and hundreds showed up for the inaugural meeting with the Governor held at the courtyard of City Hall.

The new county boss assured the staff that they come top on his priority list. He directed the County Secretary to distribute his election manifesto to all staff to ensure they were all aligned to his vision for the city.

“We need to work together to ensure there is order, where everyone knows the rules and everyone, including the Governor, follows them,” he said.

Last month, normal county services were interrupted as city hall staff began their strike over unresolved grievances.

The Kenya County Government Workers Union had earlier issued a seven-day strike notice to give city hall time to solve their issue.

Among the issues cited were persistent salary delays, failure to complete promotions of all eligible staff, and unwillingness to finalise a collective bargaining agreement.

Other issues are perennial electricity disconnections and intermittent NHIF medical cover due to failure to pay premiums and remit monthly deductions.

In February, the workers had threatened to take industrial action over the failure of the county to remit their statutory deductions.

Former governor Ann Kananu's administration had been put in a spot over an alleged diversion of more than Sh490.5 million in staff funds to unauthorised expenditures.

The staff accused City Hall of failing to remit their statutory deductions and union dues despite making a requisition to the Controller of Budget.

The diverted funds include statutory deductions and union dues amounting to Sh490.47 million between October and December 2021 and Sh70 million staff claims for January.

However, the Ministry of Labour called upon the union to suspend their 21-day strike notice.

As a result, the Ministry assigned a special officer, Boaz Musandu, to assist the workers’ union in resolving the issue.

The saga surrounding the staff salary deductions came to light in January when the union raised an alarm demanding the immediate remittance of all deductions without any further delay.

The unremitted deductions include; Sacco loans, pension, NHIF, NSSF, PAYE, salaries, welfare, and union dues.