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Protests after Sakaja ‘fires’ NMS sweepers

Street sweepers in Nairobi on September 20, 2023, protested outside the office of Governor Johnson Sakaja over reported unfair dismissal from the county government.

The workers who say they have been cleaning the streets of Nairobi for the past four years claim they have been rendered jobless by the county government following the recent employment of 3,500 environmental officers.

The protesters now wants the county boss to consider them in the remaining 1,000 positions which have been advertised by the county.

According to Joseph Panyako, who was the general supervisor of the team, they had been assured by the governor that their positions will not be affected by the recent recruitment.

The group had been assigned to clean Uhuru Park, Green Park area, and Central Business Center (CBD).

“They have hired people who have never done this work before, and some were brought all the way from Kakamega, Murang’a and some parts of the country and all we have been kicked out of the program,” Panyako said.

The team is part of the group which worked under the defunct Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

“We’ve worked for four years and when the governor came, he asked us to work with him. We joined him from NMS but they have now dismissed all those who were in NMS.”

Mr Panyako and his team have also expressed dissatisfaction in the recruitment process, saying that those who were in NMS have not been prioritized as earlier promised by the governor.

“They have been lying to us. The governor asked us to write our names for consideration but that has been the same to now.”

Also, they have not been paid for three months and are now left with no option but to seek the governor’s attention and set the record clear about their case.

“They should pay us first. They have not given us even a notice of dismissal.”

In a similar incident, Lang’ata cemetery workers downed their tools over six month delayed salary even after assurance from the governor that they will be paid.

The workers paralysed services around the cemetery early in the morning, and those who were visiting the area to bury their loved ones were forced to wait for the situation to calm since the gates were closed.

“The governor came and we had conversation with him and he even made a call in our presence directing that we should be paid, but up to now, we have not received our salary,” one of the workers at the mortuary said.

However, County Secretary Mr Patrick Analo said in his response that the application for environmental work is still open for 1,000 people, asking them to consider applying.

“Out of the 300, the 89 were already absorbed…we have told them to apply the advertised positions and they will be considered,” Mr Analo said.

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