Nairobi City County Health Staff on contract are mounting pressure on Governor Johson Sakaja to honor a promise to absorb all employees who were under the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS).
In a letter, the Nairobi City County Contract Workers (NCCCW) said it is a year and the contract staff feel betrayed and short-changed.
Further, NCCCW said the workers who were under NMS are now being persecuted and discriminated against in the process.
While referring to the deed of transfer of NMS functions back to the Nairobi County Government, NCCCW states that it provided a clear direction on how individuals employed by NMS would be employed by Governor Sakaja’s administration.
“Following the Deed of transfer of the stated functions from the National Government back to the County Government of Nairobi on 30th September 2022, the deed provided a clear framework for the handover of the transferred functions back to the County.
According to Article 3.3 of the deed of transfer, it clearly provided how staff seconded to NMS and those employed by NMS would be redeployed and absorbed by the Nairobi City County Government.
During the handover of the transferred functions back to County, The Governor of Nairobi His Excellency Sakaja Johnson is on record promising to follow the deed and absorb permanently all staff who were employed by PSC,” read part of the letter.
Discrimination of NMS Workers
According to the letter by the NCCCW, the NMS workers are discriminated against in the following ways.
1. It is alleged that they were Irregularly Employed by illegal Entity (NMS) and that the CPSB has no obligation to absorb them:
On this, NCCCW said NMS was legally established, and the court ruled on this matter. PSC, the premier national human resource management agency, the staff on behalf of the CPSB as the circumstances then only allowed The PSC to carry out the recruitment.
2. That the contract health staff (formerly NMS) need to re-apply and be only taken on terms of county government establishments.
“Contracts of Universal Health Care (UHC) staff employed by PSC have been renewed without being subjected to further interviews.
Former NMS health workers on the other hand are subjected to re-application for the jobs they are currently serving in despite having been appraised every year by Nairobi City County.
The terms for health workers offered by PSC are the same as those being offered by the County Government of Nairobi. Why should one re-apply for the same position he/she has been in and currently serving?” said the workers.
3.That the NMS staff will be given priority when they apply for the advertised jobs.
The workers explained that a worrying trend has been set from the hiring of clerical officer’s post recently advertised by the CPSB.
In addition, they say not even a single contract clerical officer employed initially under the now defunct NMS was shortlisted.
“They have been serving productively and when their contracts ended, they were issued with termination letters and encouraged to apply for similar vacancies the County is going to advertise and given priority.
None of the NMS serving officers who applied were shortlisted. Healthcare workers feel the same fate awaits them in the ongoing recruitment,” said NCCCW.
Also, some critical cadres like nursing have seen less vacancies advertised compared to the number of the former NMS staff currently in service.
Further, NCCCW said an external advert has been placed adding that the staff on contracts feel that this process will be manipulated by corrupt individuals and politicians trying to bring in their cronies.
“We have seen Nairobi City County Assembly MCAs publicly ask their supporters to apply and send them names “to follow up.” We are Kenyans and we all know what that means.
We expect an oversight role by MCAs in ensuring a credible recruitment exercise is done by the CPSB and it is worrying when our defenders are part of the scheme that is going to sabotage the process by influencing a to be independent CPSB.
We hoped, and still hope that like Nyandarua County Assembly that recently stopped the recruitment exercise of health workers due to transparency issues where staff already on contracts were left out, Nairobi MCAs would do the same,” read the letter.
In addition, the workers called upon the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to be vigilant as the process is clearly teetering on the edge of the law and established good practice.
“If in doubt, ask the defunct NMS contracted clerical officers who applied for their own positions none of them was shortlisted primarily because they came in through NMS and secondly, they were unable to raise huge bribe sums demanded of them.
The staff feel that if indeed priority for contracted staff is to be adhered to, an internal advert should have sufficed,” said NCCCW.
Establishment of NMS
A deed of transfer of functions from the Nairobi City County Government to the National Government was affected in accordance with Article 186 and 187 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
This was done on February 25, 2020, when the then Governor Mike Sonko signed ab agreement with former President Uhuru Kenyatta to transfer county functions to the national government.
The functions in review were; County Health Services, County Transport Services, County Planning and Development Services, and County Public Works, Utilities and Ancillary Services.
To ensure efficient services delivery to Nairobi residents, the County Assembly ad-hoc committee on the deed of transfer welcomed the move to have the four functions managed by the National Government under the Executive Office of the President through the NMS.
Consequently, the PSC competitively and through merit recruited 1,600 healthcare workers to gap the shortage of health workers experienced then in Nairobi.
This was occasioned by lack of quorum in the Nairobi County Public Service Board (CPSB) to recruit staff and the effects of COVID-19 pandemic that had affected the already strained health services.
Further, NCCCW explained that the staff recruited by PSC were posted across all health facilities in Nairobi including the Newly built facilities in the informal settlements.
“They were employed during the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, and they worked tirelessly risking their lives and that of their families as they helped contain the disease. Many contracted the virus.
Having served for more than one year providing services to the residents of Nairobi, the Public Service Commission gave a directive for all staff who had been employed on contracts at the entry level to be translated into Permanent and Pensionable terms,” said NCCCW.
NCCCW says the directive made workers feel appreciated for the work rendered towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage.
Additionally, the user department subsequently gave a memo for urgent appraisal of staff for their terms of services to be translated to permanent and pensionable. Staff were appraised and remained optimistic.
However, to their surprise, the process stalled midway as election campaigns gathered momentum and eventually led to transitions.