Samburu county officials vetting begins amidst protest

Samburu Governor Lati Lelelit says the plan is to increase school enrolment

Samburu County Assembly has started vetting chief officers nominees amid uproar over recruitment criteria.

Names of 12 officers appointed by Governor Jonathan Lelelit were submitted to the County Assembly for approval as required by the law.

A gazette notice seen by the Nation calls on all members of the county assembly to convene for a sitting to vet the officers.

"Notice is given to all members of the Samburu County Assembly that pursuant to standing orders no. 28 (1) and (3), a special sitting of the county assembly of Samburu shall be held at the assembly chambers in Maralal on Wednesday 11, 2023," read the notice.

"Further, pursuant to county assembly standing orders no. 28 (4), the agenda for the special sitting shall be tabling of county Chief Officers nominees by the governor for vetting."

Governor  Lelelit last week picked chief officers to help him realize his development agenda for the pastoral county after months of anxiety.

The appointments of the chief officers sparked off criticism from his opponents that the beneficiaries were his political cronies in the last general election. Despite of a "competitive" recruitment drive, opponents said that his political friends dominated the list, which is set to be handed over to the assembly for approval.

The county earlier resolved to use aptitude tests in the chief officers’ recruitment drive, a move that caused an uproar in the county.  But, the governor defended the decision to use aptitude tests, saying it aimed at ensuring Samburu gets the right people, qualified in their professional fields to fill in the vacant positions.

Candidates who passed the aptitude tests proceeded to the next level, where oral interviews were conducted. The county boss earlier maintained that the recruitment of the officials to fill in the positions would not be a reward to political cronies, but to competent individuals. 

However, in the final list, the governor picked, several political friends were rewarded with different posts. 

The county boss made key changes in his administration unlike his predecessor. For instance, the Ministry of Lands will get a chief officer in charge of Lands and Physical Planning and another in charge of Housing and Urban Development.

The Finance docket will get a chief officer in charge of Finance and another in charge of Economic Planning and ICT, while Agriculture will get two COs in charge of Crop Production and Livestock Production respectively. 

The office of the governor will get two chief officers, one in charge of Special Programmes and another in charge of Public Service Management and Administration, while the office of the county attorney will get a county solicitor. 

The governor took a long time to unveil the due to an uphill task he faced to balance his appointments to accommodate gender, minority groups and clanism matrix while wooing parts he hopes to reap in 2027 re-election bid. And in a taste of the headache ahead, murmurs are already being heard over his nominees.  

Mr Lelelit picked two politicians, who participated in the Samburu East Parliamentary race. The two, David Lerno and Lenas Leshore lost the parliamentary race to Jackson Lentoijoni who trounced them to retain his seat on a Kanu party ticket. 

The governor appointed Mr Lerno to be the Chief Officer (CO) in charge of Livestock Production and Animal Health and Mr Leshore to be the Chief Officer in charge of Environment, Climate Change, Natural Resources and Energy. The two politicians were in the Kenya Kwanza and Azimio camps respectively in the recently concluded general election. 

Mr Lerno was running on The Service Party (TSP) party ticket while Mr Leshore was vying on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket. Mr Lelelit's cabinet will come in handy in the realisation of his manifesto, which prioritised food security, water, security and health hygiene. 

In the list, the county chief also named Stephen Lenamarle (Education), David Lenakula (Crop Production), Samuel Lesangurikuri (Roads, Transport and Public Works), Regina Mwatha (Housing and Urban Development) and Solomon Letirok (Finance).

Other nominees to the chief officers’ slots include Josphat Lenguris (Medical Services), Dr Lekiluai Ndeki (Public Health and Sanitation), Mike Lekadaa (Lands and Physical Planning), Juliana Lenaseyian (Trade Cooperatives and Enterprise Development) and Steve Leakono (Water and Sanitation). 

The governor is also expected to make more appointments as six chief officers slots are still pending.


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