Dennis Onsarigo Claims Toxic Nyamira County Environment In 1100-Word Resignation Letter

He expressed that he feared being labelled incompetent yet nothing was working, thus culminating in his decision to resign from the well-paying position.

Dennis Onsarigo Claims Toxic Nyamira County Environment In 1100-Word Resignation Letter
Dennis Onsarigo addresses press in Wundanyi on October 27, 2022. /FILE

Former KTN journalist Dennis Onsarigo has resigned from his role as the chief of staff in Nyamira County, nearly two years after he was appointed towards the end of October 2022 by the county governor, Amos Nyaribo.

Explaining reasons for his resignation in a two-and-a-half-page letter which Viral Tea can confirm is authentic, Onsarigo quit owing to a series of frustrations which saw the county administration ignore most of his concerns and proposals.

He expressed that he feared being labelled incompetent yet nothing was working, thus culminating in his decision to resign from the well-paying position.

"It is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation from the position of Chief of Staff office of the Governor Nyamira County. Serving in this capacity has been a privilege, and it is not without considerable introspection and disappointment that I make this decision.

Former TV journalist, Dennis Onsarigo. /CAPITAL GROUP

"I joined this administration with a genuine passion for public service and an unwavering belief in your vision for the great Nyamira County. However, over the course of my tenure, I have encountered what would best be described as a deliberate strategy that has imposed itself in the way of service delivery and impeded our ability to fully realize our vision," he wrote.

The renowned former journalist laid bare the troubles he went through with the Nyamira County government during his tenure which included more than six unsuccessful attempts to seek an audience with Governor Nyaribo to discuss an elaborate plan on how best the office of the chief staff would function in the execution of Nyaribo's manifesto.

This is while supporting other departments in aligning their short and long plans largely drawing their strengths from the mother manifesto, a matter he indicated, did not materialize.

"In the vision I had shared with you, I had envisioned an end to the uncomfortable and embarrassing instances where my governor was forced to stop at a petrol station waiting for his official vehicle to be fuelled by an accounting officer who could not be reached on phone despite your never-ending steps of reprimanding of the officer. This stands out as perhaps the most agonizing and low moment I experienced as your Chief of Staff," he revealed.

Onsarigo also termed it as unfortunate that his office never had a chance to put a complete stop, to the several instances where Nyaribo's security team including the drivers could go for months without their allowances, despite the controller of budget releasing the monies in their name but it ended up not getting paid.

He also noted that his plans to prioritize his comfort and security failed, including but not limited to, availing an extra bodyguard and vehicle for the governor as he had been operating with one for more than five months.

He also indicated failed plans to refurbish the office of the governor and construct a modern toilet to save the administration from embarrassing episodes when many visitors are hosted by the administration.

"The washrooms' renovations have failed to capture the most essential part of what constitutes a functioning washroom: running water and toiletries. The washroom can only be utilized as a urinal for men, side-lining women guests and staff," he went on.

Onsarigo also cited plans to hold talks with the governor regarding a possible facelift of the current office of the governor, the reception and the waiting area to also avoid the embarrassment that would emerge from the limited space of entertaining high-profile guests.

"I must admit that we have over a very short period of time managed to stem the tide of public embarrassment when it comes to protocol. My proposal which unfortunately failed to capture your attention had outlined the creation of the position of director of protocol and the recruitment of three other protocol officers. The new look protocol team was to work closely with communications officers in all the departments in planning county functions/events that would have needed your attendance," he continued.

Onsarigo also planned to brief Nyaribo on the view by county staff that the governor's office suffered deep mistrust and open rebellion and to a large extent entertained the thought they are being used as conduits of siphoning public funds, citing the donor-funded projects monies / single sourcing of contracts among other lucrative projects are avenues to divert public funds as of grave concern to him. 

"The staff claim, which I find as disparagement and wild allegations that parents to our youth who apply for jobs in the county government have to part with a bribe in order for them to secure a job must urgently be addressed as well.

"In order to improve on service delivery/supporter-government relations, I had proposed the creation of the position of an office administrator domiciled at the Governor's office; this position was to serve the never-ending concerns of a dysfunctional office that has greatly impacted on service delivery. The deployment of advisors to respective departments also meant to increase the governor's presence in the departments and bring to an end the long-held view of underutilization of staff in the governor's office. Unfortunately, this remains just an idea," he continued.

Onsarigo further termed it difficult for him to adequately express his disappointment in not being able to contribute as significantly as he had hoped to in many other areas with an eye on improved service delivery and the upcoming 2027 elections.

"Despite the dedication and hard work from our team, it has become clear that the obstacles we face are beyond my immediate control, and my continued presence in this role is regrettably not conducive to the progress we all desire. I expressed my fears to you not once but severally that "it will get to a point where I will be viewed as incompetent, not because of incompetence's sake but a regime unwilling to accommodate new and bold ideas and one that is captive to a past riddled with self-engineered setbacks," he expressed.

Nonetheless, Onsarigo thanked Governor Nyaribo for the trust and support extended to him during his time as Chief of Staff and for the opportunity to step down in advance before being rendered incompetent.

Governor Amos Nyaribo addresses Nyamira residents after his swearing-in ceremony at Nyamira Primary. /STANDARD DIGITAL

"The office of the Chief of Staff will be seeing a second occupant in a period of less than three years which I feel needs some serious introspection," he concluded.

Onsarigo previously worked as Raila Odinga’s Press Secretary for his campaign secretariat in February 2022 before moving on to Nyamira County. Before then, he served as the Director of Communications in Taita Taveta County, a position he held since 2018.

He also worked with The Standard Group and Nation Media Group as an investigative journalist and was known for his investigative series Case Files.

Governor Nyaribo had yet to respond to Onsarigo's reasons for his resignation at the time of publishing this article.