Large tribes dominate public jobs

April 6, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – An audit by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has revealed that ethnicity is still prevalent in government jobs three years after the National Cohesion and Integration Act came into effect.

According to the study, the Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Luo, Luhya, Kamba, Meru and Kisiis take up 70 percent of all government jobs.

NCIC chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia said on Wednesday that some 20 minority communities have less than one percent presence in public employment.

“Six communities’ share of civil service jobs exceeds their population size by between one and four percentage points. Another five communities are under represented by similar margins,” he stated.

“Up to eight government departments are in clear breach of the law because more than 33 percent of their staff are from one ethnic community. Another seven communities are close to breaching the law because they each have numbers of one ethnic community holding thirty percent of jobs,” he said.

The National Cohesion and Integration Act stipulates that not more than one-third of employees in any government department should be from one ethnic community.

"This Act makes discrimination on the basis of ethnic or racial grounds a criminal offence. It bars comparison of persons of different ethnic groups and makes it is illegal to harass another person based on his race or ethnicity,” he said.

He is recommending that administrative action be taken to ensure that all appointments are not more than a third from one community in ministries and other departments.

“We are also suggesting that the relevant law should require that once every quarter, the Head of Public Service should make a report on ethnic composition of civil service or whenever a wave of employment occurs,” he pointed out.

He stressed the need for regular reviews of how each ministry and department was addressing the problem of ethnic inequality and that performance contracts should include entrenching diversity as a major indicator of performance.

He said there was need to accelerate affirmative action to build the human capital stock in areas which have historically been marginalised.

Mr Kibunjia observed that the statistics painted a bleak picture of the civil service since they point to a crisis of ethnic exclusion.

He said that it indicts the country’s leadership system and emphasised the need to strengthen institutions.

He pointed out that the composition of the civil service was important not only because it is the face of the government, but also because the jobs are an important source of income for many people.

He stated that the skewed composition of the civil service not only distorts incomes but excludes large populations from driving policy about things that matter to them.

“Kenya must not allow itself to operate an informal apartheid system that could perpetuate an inter-generational transmission of inequality. We must not shy away from a candid debate of the issues because in it shall be found the solutions of our problems,” he said.

“In future, we hope that diversity can become a criteria for qualifying how money from the Equalisation Fund as well as allocations to the county governments should be portioned out.”

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