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38 Hunger Safety staff to sue National Drought Management Authority

Thirty-eight staff members of the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) have threatened to sue the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) for unfair treatment.

The members have alleged that their contract was terminated despite serving the organisation for over nine years, including three years as consultants for Matrix Development Consultants.

Of the 38 members, 18 were employed for just under two years in the HSNP expansion counties of Samburu, Garissa, Tana River and Isiolo, while the remaining 20 worked for nine years or more in the old HSNP counties of Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit and Turkana.

In a letter seen by Nairobi News addressing Members of Parliament from the eight pastoral counties of Marsabit, Isiolo, Garissa, Tana River, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, and Mandera and Pastoral Parliamentary Group, they alleged that their dismissal was done out of malice.

Their contracts were terminated on July 3, 2023, without notice or reason cause.

In addition, the employees are claiming that they were not paid their gratuities or leave allowances against the Employment Act of Kenya, which stipulates that employees are entitled to one month’s notice of termination as well as their gratuity and any outstanding leave allowances.

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The affected staff are demanding reinstatement and compensation, emphasizing the need for NDMA to comply with the law.

Also, they argue that the termination will adversely affect service delivery to pastoral communities and could potentially lead to the collapse of the project.

“As implementers of the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP), a flagship social protection project under Vision 2030, our role in facilitating government donor-led cash assistance to vulnerable pastoralists is critical. Without our involvement, there will be a significant gap in the delivery of these essential service.”

Further, the 38 members argue that the lack of permanent staff violates the Public Service Commission Act of 2017, which mandates that all public service positions be filled permanently and pensionable.

“The failure of NDMA management to plan for a permanent staff for HSNP has had a significant negative impact on the delivery of services to pastoral communities.”

HSNP is a long-term program of national interest that goes beyond the scope of NDMA and is supported by the government to support some of the most vulnerable and poor households in Northern Kenya.

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