National News

Kakamega sends clerk on retirement

Kakamega assembly clerk Patrick Kamwessar has been sent on early retirement.

The County Public Service Board did not give reasons for the early exit.

The clerk had just returned to the station after a two-month forced leave that started on December 3.

“This is to communicate the decision of the Kakamega County Assembly Service Board that you retire from the service with immediate effect in line with your terms of service as per the County Assemblies Services Act 2017 Section 30( 4 ),” the letter signed by speaker Morris Buluma and dated February 27 read in part.

“I take this opportunity to thank you for the services rendered and wish you a happy retirement,” Buluma said.

But the embattled official rejected the decision, vowing to stay on and fight what he termed as influence by the executive.

Kamwessar said the board’s action was a fragrant violation of his rights “guaranteed and protected by the Constitution, statutes as well as labour relations to which Kenya is a signatory”. He said he had neither attained the mandatory retirement age — 60 — nor requested for early retirement. Again, no ground for his removal was given, he said.“I have just resumed office from leave and I shall seek to continue discharging the duties of my office as mandated by law. I expect the office of the service board to give me the necessary support and protection to enable me do my work peacefully,” he said.

In 2015, the speaker presided over an assembly session that approved the sacking of his deputy, then Mahiakalo MCA Cleophas Malala, against an existing court order.

Malala, now the Kakamega senator, filed contempt proceedings in which Buluma was found guilty and fined Sh200,000. Malala was awarded more than Sh20 million in damages and costs, which the assembly is yet to pay.

Kamwessar’s trouble started on December 3, when he was served with a letter by the board asking him to proceed on a 30-day leave.

He obliged but before the end of the leave, he was served with another letter extending his stay at home for 30 more days, which ended on Sunday.

Kamwessar reported at the assembly on duty on Monday and found locks to his office doors changed.

On Tuesday, he spent the day in the deputy clerk’s office as board members were in Kirinyaga for the Sixth Devolution Conference.

Kamwessar said he met the speaker and the Majority leader Joel Ongoro in the former’s house in Kakamega to discuss his exit package but the meeting flopped.

“They told me that I should proceed on retirement and they will pay me the remainder of my term even if I didn’t work. I told them there would be an audit query. It was at this point that Ongoro stormed out shouting that I should just leave,” he told the Star yesterday.

Kamwessar threatened with legal action if his office is not opened.

In mid-October last year, MCAs locked the doors of the offices of speaker Buluma, finance director Laban Atemba and Kamwesser to protest against the assembly leadership’s failure to address their welfare.

Failure by the assembly to issue mortgage facilities to the MCAs triggered a legal suit by MCAs Walter Andati, Jackline Mwakha and Josephat Mwasame.

They wanted the court to compel the assembly to fulfil its mandate.

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