Wednesday August 21, 2019
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Crisis Hits 15 Counties in Kenya as Workers Strike

On Sunday , Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) Secretary-General Roba Duba said that 28 counties have so far paid their workers

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Council of governors chair Wyclife Oparanya.

BY GEOFFREY ISAYA

Operations in at least 15 counties in Kenya will be disrupted starting tomorrow (Tuesday) after county government workers vowed to down their tools over delayed salaries.

The workers issued a seven-day strike notice last week over delays by the devolved units to pay their July salaries.

On Sunday , Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) Secretary-General Roba Duba said that 28 counties have so far paid their workers and effectively averted the planned strike.Four others have made commitments to pay their employees by tomorrow and will also not face the industrial action. They are Kirinyaga, Kilifi, Uasin Gishu and Busia counties.

Duba, however, said that 15 counties have neither paid nor made any plans to clear the salary arrears.

Counties, Kenya, Workers Strike
Operations in at least 15 counties in Kenya will be disrupted starting tomorrow (Tuesday) after county government workers vowed to down their tools over delayed salaries. Pixabay

“These counties have not paid and have not shown any indication of an intention to pay. They are rogue counties and from Tuesday, there is going to be total paralysis there,” Roba told a press conference in Nairobi.

They are Isiolo, Marsabit, West Pokot, Kisumu, Baringo, Samburu, Kitui, Machakos, Embu, Meru, Bungoma, Samburu, Nakuru, Elgeyo Marakwet and Tharaka Nithi.

KCGWU, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union and the Kenya National Union of Nurses last week issued the strike notice following a letter by the Council of Governors informing the unions that workers July salaries could delay.

The letter by CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya warned the workers to brace for tough times ahead because of the stalemate in Parliament over Division of Revenue Bill, 2019, in Parliament.

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The bill is crucial legislation that spells out the sharing of revenue between the national and county governments for the 2019-20 financial.

While Senators have allocated the counties Sh335 million, their colleagues in the National Assembly have proposed Sh316 billion. Currently, the Bill is awaiting mediation after the clash.

However, the mediation could be delayed after the legislators broke for a month-long recess last Thursday.

The crisis has plunged the devolved units into a serious cash problem. Workers, suppliers and contractors have been the worst hit by the cash crisis.

Counties, Kenya, Workers Strike
The workers issued a seven-day strike notice last week over delays by the devolved units to pay their July salaries. Pixabay

On Saturday, clinical officers and laboratory technologists joined the three giant unions and threatened to withdraw services from tomorrow.

But Duba said that workers should not be drawn into the stalemate and they (employees) should not be subjected to untold pain and suffering after rendering their services.

“There is nothing new in the payment of staff salaries. It is something that is known and budgeted for in advance. It is something that is planned and budgeted for. It is a recurrent expenditure,” he said.

He claimed the governors could only be using the emotive workers’ salaries to pile pressure on the government and Parliament to release the money to counties.

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“None of the counties that we have engaged has cited the stalemate in Parliament for the delays. In fact, even the four that have agreed to pay by Tuesday or Wednesday told us the delays were related to payroll management and other small issues.

Next Story

Popular Kenyan Musician John Ng’ang’a aka John De’Mathew, Dies Through a Tragic Accident

Known as the King of Kikuyu music, the singer was on his way back from an event in the town of Thika when he met with a car accident

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JOHN-DE-MATHEW
Musician John De Mathew,he Died through a road crash.

By Geoffrey Isaya

Popular Kenyan musician John Ng’ang’a, known by his stage name John De’Mathew, has been killed in a car crash.

Known as the King of Kikuyu music, the singer was on his way back from an event in the town of Thika, 45km (27 miles) north-east of the capital, Nairobi, when his car ploughed into a lorry.

Famous for wearing a white cowboy hat, he reportedly produced more than 50 albums in a three-decade career.

His style of music was known as Benga, with guitar setting a fast-paced rhyme. He always sang in Kikuyu, one of Kenya’s main languages.

The hashtag #RIPDeMathew trended in Kenya for the better part of Monday hours after the news of his demise, with people sharing their memories.

One tweeter said he always addressed social issues in his songs, like one about alcoholism,Tribalism and corruption.

Fans have been paying tribute to Kenyan musician, John Ng’ang’a, known by his stage name John De’Mathew, who has died in a car crash – but not everyone has been praising the Benga singer.

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John’s songs focused on love, politics and societal ills such as alcoholism – often using proverbs, metaphors and references to Kikuyu mythology. Wikimedia Commons

Dubbed “the King of Kikuyu music” – he was one of the few musicians to be famous countrywide despite only singing in his Kikuyu language.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Twitter that he played a big role in promoting “African cultural heritage through his music”

His songs focused on love, politics and societal ills such as alcoholism – often using proverbs, metaphors and references to Kikuyu mythology.

While some have praised him as a “modern prophet”, one of his political songs was controversial and has divided opinion about his legacy.

Wituite Hiti, which means “You Have Made Yourself a Hyena”, was released ahead of the 2013 election.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), set up to ease ethnic tensions after the violence that followed the 2007 election, said the lyrics bordered on hate speech.

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It was thought he was referring to politician Raila Odinga, the main rival to Mr Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, who went on to win the presidential vote. De’Mathew was charged in court over the song, but acquitted the following year.

Defending himself, he said the translations were taken out of context and had missed the message of the song. Mr Odinga, who also lost the 2017 presidential vote, has tweeted his condolences to De’Mathew’s family, saying the singer was a great educator “on culture and current affairs”. (IANS)