Retired DC Embassy staff accuse Githae of wrongful dismissal
Two former employees of the Kenyan embassy in Washington, DC have accused the ambassador to the US, Mr Robinson Njeru Githae, of wrongfully dismissing them from the consulate.
In an exclusive interview with the Nation and in a letter addressed to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Jafred Musamba and Mr Joseph Asweto argue that their two-year contracts have not expired.
In the letter to ambassador Macharia Kamau, they ask the ministry to intercede so they are reinstated.
In termination letters issued on August, 24, 2018, the embassy says the two were dismissed after attaining retirement age.
“Records held in this office indicate that you attained the retirement age of 60 years on January 1, 2015. In accordance with Section D.21 of the Human Resources Policies and the Procedures Manual for the Public Service and Local Staff Regulations, one is required to retire from the service on attainment of the retirement age,” the letters seen by the Nation state in part.
The complainants, however, denied the embassy’s claim that they were fired because they reached age 60, saying 65 is the official age of retirement.
They did not deny that they are at least 60 years old. In this claim, they seem to be using the US retirement requirement, whose age is 65.
The complainants say: “In any case, our contracts bear no clause stating the retirement age. The embassy has therefore violated the two-year contracts which expire in October, 2019, by summarily firing us as if we had committed a criminal offence.”
Mr Musaba and Mr Asweto, who were hired locally, further argue that the ambassador used civil service policy manuals to get rid of them yet they are not civil servants.
Reached for comment, ambassador Githae dismissed the claims and insisted that the embassy did contravene any contractual agreements with the two.
“The truth is that the people we let go, including the two gentlemen, were supposed to have retired a long time ago. In fact, Mr Asweto came here after retiring from the civil service at home so he should be enjoying his retirement benefits,” he said.
Mr Githae further said the US State Department recently issued a memo requiring all embassies and commissions accredited to the US not to employ local staff for more than five years.
“As you may already know, apart from attaining the retirement age, the two gentlemen were also the longest serving. It was only fair to start from the top down,” he said/
The ambassador also dismissed claims by the two that he fired them in order to employ his relatives, noting that their positions are being advertised openly.
“If you go to our website, you will see their positions advertised. We will conduct a fair and open recruitment process for these positions,” he said.