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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 16 February 2015

Irrigation Board staff want boss kicked out

Employees at the Bura Irrigation Scheme under the National Irrigation Board are up in arms against the management over what they term as poor pay and late salaries. Speaking to Weekly Citizen on strict conditions of anonymity for fear of victimisation, the workers say they earned their December salaries on January 22 2015 and to date, they have not earned their January salaries.
They are squarely apportioning blame for their grievances on the scheme’s manager Peter Njeru whom they alleged comes to the office twice a month and even in the two days, he spends most of the time at the Bura Country Club on a relaxation spree and spends the nights there before leaving for unknown destinations.
The aggrieved employees are now demanding that the NIB managing director Daniel Barasa must show Njeru the exit door for alleged incompetence and sleeping on his job. They are demanding that a more qualified manager should be employed as Njeru, a water engineer, does not measure to the job as he has no skills to run an agricultural-based organisation.
Sources at the scheme say that Njeru has continued to employ unqualified people to head various departments yet they lack the professional expertise and academic qualifications for the jobs they are employed to do. One such person is the Bura Country Club manager, Mariam Kiuso. Sources say she has mismanaged the club and its standards dropped to its lowest with fears of imminent closure if action is not taken as she was single-handedly sourced and irregularly employed by Njeru.
It is also imperative to note that at the Bura Scheme, there is no single agricultural trained officer on the ground. Those handling technical services are not qualified for the positions they hold.
The acting personnel officer David Obayi was a former security guard in charge of stores and one wonders how he has risen through the ranks to be the personnel officer. Sources say Obayi does not have any academic or professional qualifications to hold the key position which might have resulted into the latest hue and cry.
Farmers at Bura Scheme have also complained against Njeru’s poor administration due to lack of market for their produce. The farmers claim the National Cereals and Produce Board has not bought the produce from them forcing the farmers to sell the produce to the “black market” at throw-away prices. It is suspected some of those who secretly buy maize from the farmers are managers at the scheme who in turn sell them to NCPB. Efforts to get comment from the MD proved fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.