Ministry gives in to CoG pressure on employment

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, his deputy Mwangi wa Iria (second left) and other officials address the press in Nairobi. Photo/PD/BERNARD MALONZA

The Government has bowed to pressure from the counties on the hiring of health workers after weeks of wrangling over employment mandate.

In a letter to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and copied to the Council of Governors, Chief Executive Officer dated April 14, the Public Service Commission (PSC) called on Governors to forward the list of counties that require its intervention in terms of short-listing and recruitment.

“In the meantime, the list of applicants for the fully constituted boards will be forwarded to the respective County Public Service Boards and copied to you,” wrote PSC Secretary and CEO, Simon Rotich.

He also indicated in the letter that the Commission had segregated the data per cadre and county preference, in order to fast track the process of recruitment.

Three weeks ago, PSC advertised  5,500 positions for contractual health workers in readiness for the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Coverage, but majorly for now, to help in the fight against the spread of coronavirus following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s announcement.

But this did not go down well with the governors who reacted angrily claiming the national government wanted to assume the responsibility of hiring healthcare personnel which is a prerogative of counties since health was a devolved function.

A day after the PSC advert, angry CoG chairman, Wycliffe Opranya, asked the Health CS and PSC chair, Stephen Kirogo to call off the exercise and allow counties do it.

“County governments note with utmost concern that the Public Service Commission is advertising positions on behalf of the county governments.

Kindly note that this will not work since the function of hiring staff is a preserve of the county public service boards,” he wrote in a strongly worded letter.

Oparanya, the Kakamega Governor accused the national government of going back on an agreement to allow counties recruit the staff.

“It is important to note that under Schedule Four of the constitution, health is a devolved function and recruitment of such staff can only be undertaken by the county public service boards,” he added.

This resulted in the Commission backtracking on its plan to hire the healthcare workers.

The Commission announced in the letter to the CS and CoG that it had completed the list of applicants for the fully constituted boards for the recruitment of UHC health workers

“As you are aware, the advert for the recruitment of over 6000 health workers is closing on 16th April, 2020.

The Commission has so far received 61000 applications for the various positions as per the attached advert,” wrote Rotich.

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