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Boardroom wrangles rock County workers’ union plot to dispose Sh700milion property exposed

By Staff Writer

The Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) is embroiled in a nasty boardroom wrangle stemming from an alleged flouting of its constitution and the illegitimate appointment of its General Secretary Roba Duba, who is said to be in office illegally.

Court documents seen by the Financial Fortune show that the union, through a faction led by its deputy Matilda Chebet Kimetto, has questioned Duba’s eligibility and credentials, terming him “an outsider and a stranger” who has imposed himself and taken hostage of the seat and realms of power of the office of the General Secretary of the union.

“We wish to bring to your attention that Mr. Roba Duba is not a bona fide member of the Kenya County Government Workers Union since he does not meet the eligibility criteria of either an ordinary or honorary member as set out under Article 4 of the KCGWU Constitution, 2016,” reads in part a court statement dated March 3, 2021 to the registrar of trade unions which was also copied to the Labour CS Simon Chelugui and his Principal Secretary Peter Tum.

Ms. Kimetto led-faction being represented by law firm, Conrad law and consultancy, argues that Mr. Duba was also planning to use his influence at the union to rig the upcoming Union’s national elections.

“We are aware that there are plans to sell the members’ only immovable asset and members are not informed of this. Mr Duba and his team who are also planning to rig upcoming national elections are behind that scheme,” said Ms. Chebet while addressing the media last week.

Efforts to reach Mr. Duba for a comment bore no fruit as his phones went unanswered.

It is now feared that the ongoing leadership wrangles at the County Workers Union headquarters are derailing efforts to fight for more than its 20,000 members.

This comes barely days after the Union’s Nairobi branch held elections following the expiry of terms of office holders for top senior positions after KCGWU held its Nairobi Branch polls last week that saw new Secretary, Vice Secretary, Branch Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Youth Representative elected and are all expected to serve for a 5-year term.

Matilda Jebet Kimetto (Branch Secretary), Moses Murungaru (Vice Secretary), Fred Buluku (Branch Chairman), Charles Makini (Vice Chairman), Treasurer (Patrick Kasimu), Faith Kimemia  (Assistant Treasurer),   Joseph Ochung (Youth Representative).

Questions are also being raised about Mr. Duba led-faction plot to defraud KCGWU only fixed asset – a prime property whose current market valuation is Sh 700million.

According to Ms. Kimetto, the asset – Dundee house, the union’s building located next to the National Parliament is on the verge of being sold against the members’ knowledge with Duba believed to be behind the unsanctioned deal.

“We have information that he (Mr. Duba) is planning to rig his way back into office and some candidates are being funded to determine the outcome of the elections,” said Kimetto, who was speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing talks between Local Authority Pension Trust (Laptrust) and the Local Authority Pension Fund (Lapfund) over their disputed merger in order to pave the way for the implementation of the County Governments Retirement Scheme Act, 2019.

Last week,- the two schemes, the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) and the Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) appeared before the Senate’s Labour Committee where they expressed willingness to engage in discussions to end the standoff.

The Act seeks to reduce benefits of members arising from reduced contribution rates which the workers say contravenes various laws including Retirement Benefits Act, County Governments Act and their Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs).

If passed, the law will see all pension schemes covering county government workers including the County Pension Fund (CPF) merged into one entity. But court battles have hindered the consolidation of the pension schemes, leaving them running independently.

KCGWU moved to court after the law was enacted arguing that workers’ input and concerns had been ignored. The union also argued that parallel operations by the two schemes were a waste of the workers’ money. The schemes have differed on various issues, key among them the process that would be used to select a board of trustees.

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