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Plea not to victimise civil servants over tribe

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 14 – The Parliamentary Committee on Equal Opportunities on Thursday said no government employee should lose their jobs following a survey showing dominance by large tribes in ministries and state corporations.

Chairman Mohamed Affey made the petition after meeting National Cohesion and Integration Commission officials, where he said it would be wrong to victimise the public servants.

Mr Affey and NCIC Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia took the stand following reports of anxiety among civil servants who fear they might face the sack as the government moves to correct the imbalance that had seen four ethnic groups dominate public service jobs.

"We need re-distribution so that when you go to a certain ministry; you see a face of Kenya. We don\’t want you to go there and find its only one community, and then you feel that because you don\’t belong to this ethnicity I cannot get service," said Mr Kibunjia.

According to the survey released last week, members of the Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Luhya, Kamba and Luo communities occupy 70 percent of all jobs in the civil service.

The Kikuyu lead the pack with 22.3 percent of all civil service jobs, followed by the Kalenjin (16.7 percent), Luhyas (11.3 percent), Kamba (9.7 percent), Luo (9.0 percent) and Kisii (6.8 percent).

The so-called small communities are at the tail end of the survey, with over 20 having less than one percent of their population in the civil service. In fact, seven of them have less than 100 members in the civil service each.

The Committee will soon summon Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno and the Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura over the skewed ethnic representation in government.

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Mr Affey said they would also summon Local Government, Higher Education, Public Works and Tourism Ministers to explain why their dockets do not have ethnic balance as required by law.

"The leaders of these institutions will appear before us to shed more light and see whether following this report by this Commission to see what measure they need to take in order to correct the position that currently exists," he said.

"Once we get their reactions together with what we think fundamentally needs to be done as a Committee we will then allow Parliament to debate this report," he said.

Also to be summoned is the State House Comptroller.

State House issued a statement last week where it denied responsibility for the skewed ethnic representation of the staff working there. In a statement, State House Comptroller Nelson Githinji blamed the ethnic imbalance on parent ministries which second staff to State House.

Mr Affey however said an ethnic audit of the civil service conducted by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission should not result in any sacking.

NCIC Chairman Kibunjia on his part said they would help the government to reorganise the civil service by correcting the imbalance.

"Before 2008, no one broke the law it was not a requirement for this country that we must have a face of Kenya in government institutions. We are not issuing this report to start accusing people but we are laying a foundation as Kenya moves to the future this is an important aspect of our country we are looking at," he said.

He said political patronage and personality-based leadership had reduced the civil service into an exclusive club of the big communities at the expense of the so called small communities.

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