, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – Operations at the Nairobi County Government ground to a halt Wednesday after workers downed their tools insisting that they have not been paid their April salaries.
According to the Kenya County Government Workers Union, work will not proceed in all sectors until everyone has been paid their dues.
The workers gathered in front of City Hall demanding an audience with the administration, which the union’s Nairobi Branch Chairman Bernard Inyangala said was not forthcoming.
“They told us that they are going to pay us by today but we have received nothing. They have been telling us that they will send money from yesterday but nothing has been reflected in our accounts,” he said.
“If it reflects and all the workers get it then we will all resume work. But as at now, all the parking is free, the markets are also free,” he declared.
County Secretary Robert Ayisi however indicated that money has been sent to the workers’ accounts and termed the picketing as illegal.
“What I am confirming is that our workers are being paid today. The message to the workers is let them go back to their duties. What we promised last week has been paid. At least we have tried to hold our end of the bargain,” he stated.
“This delay was unprecedented and we had a meeting to show what happened but when they picket afterwards, it is not good because we have tried,” he said.
Ayisi also confirmed that the funds diverted by the Central bank of Kenya to pay the debt owed to the Kenya Revenue Authority had been returned to the County Government’s account.
“Sh1 billion has been remitted to Cooperative Bank. Staff who have accounts in Coop bank and NACICO will receive their salaries today in their bank accounts. While those in other banks will receive there’s tomorrow because of clearance procedures. Everybody should go back to work; there is no cause for alarm and unnecessary picketing,” he stated.
On Monday, the county went to court seeking an order compelling KRA to reverse the transfer.
The County Government pays a total of Sh1.3 billion monthly to its workers.
Governor Evans Kidero had termed the move to transfer the funds politically motivated and aimed at paralysing the county’s operations.
Kidero had asked the KRA to refund the money and admitted that he has been restraining the workers from going to the streets.
Two weeks ago, the CBK transferred money from the county’s recurrent account to the taxman to clear part of more than Sh3 billion owed by City Hall.
The debt, mostly inherited from the now defunct Nairobi City Council, includes statutory deductions that the council failed to remit.