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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

Kenya Vows to Cut Emissions as Cooking with Traditional Fuels Kills More than 21,500 Each Year

The health risks were greatest in rural areas, where 90% of households use wood stoves, compared to 70% nationwide, Kenya's first household survey

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Kenya, Emissions, Fuels
A trailer drives along the main Nairobi/Mombasa highway past sacks of charcoal, used for domestic cooking in many Kenyan homes, in Kibwezi. June 20, 2014. VOA

More than 21,500 Kenyans die each year from cooking with traditional fuels like charcoal and firewood, new government data showed on Tuesday, as authorities pledged to meet a global goal of universal access to clean cooking energy by 2030. Kenya.

The health risks were greatest in rural areas, where 90% of households use wood stoves, compared to 70% nationwide, Kenya’s first household survey on energy usage in cooking by the energy ministry and the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya found.

It also found that 80% of households relied solely on either charcoal or firewood as their primary cooking fuel, with 68 billion shillings ($660 million) of charcoal consumed each year.

Kenya’s energy minister Charles Keter said the situation was “grave” and called for more focus on providing clean energy options, such as gas and electricity, to the poor.

Kenya, Emissions, Fuels
FILE -Women walk out of the forest carrying wood to use for cooking, in Tsavo East, in Kenya, June 20, 2014. VOA

“This data underlines the great exposure to harmful pollutants which account for about over 21,560 deaths annually,” he said, launching the survey at a conference on clean cooking.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 3 billion people globally cook with solid fuels such as charcoal and coal on open fires or traditional stoves, producing high levels of carbon monoxide, which kills about four million people a year.

Countries have committed to ensure universal access to clean, modern energy for cooking by the year 2030 as part of 17 global development goals, but low levels of investment in the clean cooking sector are hindering progress.

The widespread use of dirty fuels also contributes to climate change and deforestation, according to energy experts.

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Government officials said Kenya has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% — where clean cooking will account for about 14% — under the Paris agreement on climate change, and it hopes to meet this target by 2028. (VOA)