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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Uproar at ministry of Lands as PS accused of incompetence

Trouble is looming at the Lands ministry with members of staff murmuring loudly over the manner in which principal secretary, Mariam El Maawy, is running the ministry.
El Maawy was fetched from the NGO world by the Jubilee government after applying for the position. She previously worked at the Public Procurement Oversight Authority.
Informed sources say that she landed the principal secretary’s slot on two basis. First, it had to do with gender. Two, by virtue of coming from marginalised community in Lamu.
Once she assumed her position, cries, regrets and curses are the order of the day among staff members all way from his juniors to the seniors.
As a result, staff morale is low and complaints of frustrations abound. Nicknamed Mganga, what goes to her office never comes out as she is accused of inefficiency, laziness and always be suspicious.
Those working with her say she suffers from inferiority complex. She would today be good and accommodative but tomorrow, she is different and hitting the roofs.
She is accused of not consultating and engaging in sweet talk to convince everybody. To survive in her position, she plays victim and everybody being against her.
To instill fear among the staff at Lands ministry, she boasts to be close to Joseph Kinyua, the chief of staff and head of the civil service.
We have established, official documents taken for her consideration and action lie in office for up to six weeks despite the sensitive nature and urgency.
As a result, the World Bank regional office at one-time threatened to suspend major projects due to her slowness to act. The projects had to do with urban development and metropolitan worth billions of shillings.
World Bank officials had to write to ministry of Finance and even threatened to withdraw. The PS is said to be sleeping on dozens of files that only need her signature to have staff members promoted. It is a norm that subordinate staff are promoted after every three years.
Because of what her juniors say is laziness, she is known to backdate documents immediately after receiving them. This is due to the fact that she allegedly does not come to work regularly. The excuse being sickness or attending to other meetings which surprisingly do not exist.
And when she calls meetings for departmental heads, El Maawy keeps them waiting for over two hours and when she arrives, she never apologises. Instead, she says they had to wait since they earn salaries.
The PS’s social life has been subject to discussion both in high and low circles. She is at times seen in the company of Farah Maalim, a former deputy speaker. However, her alleged drinking habits more so, love of whisky has seen her share sittings with many, among them foreigners.
Alleged alcohol abuse now has her hands always unsteady while signing documents in office. Her favourite drinking joints are Palacina along Dennis Pritt Road, Villa Rosa Kempinski on Chiromo Road. Before landing her current plum slot, she frequented a joint in Nairobi West. Sources say, her drinking habits has led to discussion of government policies and secrets in public.
For now, Lands staff have lost direction and the goodwill she once enjoyed in no more. The mass exodus among officers employed in her office is alarming. Drivers and secretaries allocated to her have left in droves. They claim she is always nursing hangovers and sleeping in office.
At one time, it is alleged, members of staff had to force her door open after she had switched off her mobile phone when State House wanted to consult her.
It later emerged that she had locked herself in the office with an employee claiming they were writing a report on urban development.
And that is within the country! While on an official tour to West African country, the PS is said to have involved herself in a fracas at a hotel they were booked in together with other ministry officials. She was allegedly arrested but the Foreign ministry stepped in. She was released when it emerged that she was in possession of a diplomatic passport.