Former ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Press Secretary Dennis Onsarigo has resigned from the chief of staff position in Nyamira County.
According to the resignation letter dated January 10, 2024, seen by Business Times, Onsarigo left the plum position due to frustrations that have led him to believe that he may be labelled as incompetent.
“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,” Onsarigo wrote in the letter to the governor.
Onsarigo was appointed as the new Press Secretary for Raila Odinga’s campaign secretariat in February 2022 before shifting to become Nyamira County chief of staff in October the same year.
In his exit letter, Onsarigo says he has sought an audience with Governor Amos Nyaribo without any success, forcing him to resign.
“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,” Onsarigo said.
“As you may be aware, I made several attempts- more than six times- to seek audience with you to discuss an elaborate plan on how best the office of the chief staff would function in the execution of your manifesto while supporting other departments in aligning their short and long plans largely drawing their strengths from the mother manifesto. Unfortunately, this did not materialize.”
Onsarigo cites an “uncomfortable and embarrassing” instance where the 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 the phone.
Onsarigo also cites several instances where the governor’s security team including the drivers could go for months without their allowances despite the controller of budget releasing the monies in their names.
“It is extremely painful as well, that a plan to put in place measures aimed at making your personal comfort and security my utmost priority became a cropper: plans including and not limited to making available for your use an alternative vehicle, an extra bodyguard -because you have only been operating with one for more than five months, fatigue notwithstanding- fuel cards and resources for a structured servicing and fuelling failed dramatically in what appeared to be an internally engineered and okayed strategy where money to be accrued from these services and interventions unfortunately placed your life and comfort at risk. It is regrettable,” the former investigative journalist added.
Onsarigo also says the plan to refurbish the office of the governor and build a modem toilet was also frustrated. In what seems to be a sorry state of affairs in Nyamira County, Onsarigo says that the available washroom can only be utilized as a urinal for men, sidelining women guests and staff.
He also says the proposal for the creation of the position of director of protocol and the recruitment of three other protocol officers were ignored. The new look protocol team was to work closely with communications officers in all the departments in planning county functions that would have needed the governor’s attendance.
“It is difficult for me to adequately express my disappointment in not being able to contribute as significantly as I had hoped to in many other areas with an eye on improved service delivery and the upcoming 2027 elections. The positive changes we aspired to bring about in the office of the Governor would have to be implemented by someone else, unfortunately,” he added.
“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.”
Before becoming Raila’s press secretary, Onsarigo served as the Director of Communications in Taita Taveta County, a position he held since 2018.
He previously worked with The Standard Group and Nation Media Group as an investigative journalist, best known for his investigative series Case Files.
Business Times understands that Onsarigo will be shifting to private media practice.