In Tana River County, Kenya, the Governor Dadho Godhana issued a memo on Monday, 4 December, 2021, stating a set of regulations for the employees of the county in order to fuel productivity and reduce absenteeism, negligence of work ethics, ineffectiveness of organisations, inefficiency and subsequent poor work output. Use of social media during working hours could mean a loss of six month’s pay!
The governor has given a warning to the chief executive committee members, chief officers and other officials against the use of social media and switch off of phones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Moreover, no employee is allowed to falter when it comes to adhering to the work hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, with a lunch break at 1 p.m. Employees who often travel outside the county, can only do so on official duty or upon assent of the Governor himself. The Governor further, signed contracts regarding the performance of the employees with the CECs in order to ensure that the performances are properly assessed and the task of assessing and examining performances is handed over to the public services department. Violation of these rules such as using social media during the work hours will lead to curtailment of salary of six months and even firing of the respective employee.
This move was adopted after a report published by Infotrack placed the county in last position. This automatically led to a poor ranking of the Governor herself, who is both a County Senator and a Woman Representative.
Back in 2016, even though Suresh Prabhu, the Union Railways Minister promoted the use of social media for improvement of railway services, there was a severe lashing out on the criticism of government policies and actions by the public servants.
Under Rule 9 of Railway Service Conduct Rules of 1966, railway servants indulging in messaging and chatting across various social-media platforms, including their closed user groups (CUGs) to criticise the current or recent policies or actions of the Government is not permitted. Any violation of the above law would risk a disciplinary action, according to the circular of August 30, 2016.
While some of the senior officials approved the move as it affected the credibility and image of the public organisation, by a mere mindless “like” on negative comments criticising moves of the government, some argued that meaningful criticism should be protected and not penalised.