Big 5 tribes take chunk of varsity jobs

March 6, 2012 3:55 pm


The University of Nairobi/ FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar, 6 – A report by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has revealed gaping ethnic disparities in public universities’ employment, with data showing that the five of the largest tribes account for 80 percent of the jobs.

NCIC vice-chairperson Mary Onyango said the ethnic audit targeting seven public universities and 16 constituent colleges shows that the remaining 37 ethnic groups share the remaining 20 percent of the jobs.

“The Kikuyu, Luhya, Kalenjin, Luo and Kamba who together make up about 66 percent of the Kenyan population constitute over 81 percent of the total workforce. This severs opportunities to enhance the face of Kenya in these institutions thus excluding the other more than 37 ethnic communities,” the NCIC report indicated.

Speaking while submitting the audit to the Parliamentary Committee on Equal Opportunities, Onyango cited the Masinde Muliro, Moi, Jomo Kenyatta, University of Nairobi and Kenyatta Universities as the top offenders of the NCIC Act which stipulates that no public establishment shall have more than one third of its staff from the same ethnic community.

According to the report, Masinde Muliro and Moi Universities have more than 50 percent of their employees from one community.

The report showed that the Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Kalenjin and Kisii are not just the dominant employees, but their control in these jobs is way beyond the national population ratio.

The NCIC audit also showed that most of the staff in public universities and constituent colleges come from the communities within which the institutions are located.

However the situation in Northern Kenya is different since the residents have to travel to Nairobi and its environs to get higher education.

“Kenyans seem to perceive the university as a job creation enterprise for the community within which the university is located. It may be in this perspective that some regions agitate for the establishment of public universities in their areas,” the NCIC asserted.

The report (which you can access in full HERE) further indicated that 10 out of the 15 universities audited had most employees drawn from the same tribe as the vice chancellor or principal. “The remaining five institutions whose majority employees were not from the same ethnic group as the institution’s chief executive drew the majority of their employees from the Kikuyu community.”

Based on the 2009 census report, NCIC found that the Kamba, Mijikenda, Turkana and Maasai representation in the public institutions of higher learning did not match their population level.

Ethnic groups such as the Tharaka, Gabra, Orma, Burji, Gosha, Dasanach and Njemps have been sidelined at these public institutions.

The report further unearthed the serious inequalities in distribution of resources and development especially in the Northern parts of the country.

In north, the establishment of constituent colleges remains farfetched as infrastructural development continues to block easy transportation in the areas. The report established that the Moi University Campus opened in 2009 in Garissa could not succeed due to challenges in its operations.

Kenyatta University which has the Institute of Open, Distance and e-Learning located in Garissa Town is overburdened as it serves all the Districts of North Eastern Province as well as Mwingi District in Eastern Province and Tana River District in Coast Province.

The study done in February this year captured 14,996 staff working at the public colleges and universities.

According to the NCIC, tribalism is a challenge not just affecting politics but also the learning institutions. NCIC said it is crucial for its report to be considered in the development of policy on Inclusive Employment.

The commission also urged the government to direct the universities and constituent colleges to observe the constitutional requirement on ethnic diversity in recruitment.


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