The Sad Reality of Entrenched Ethnicity in Public Service

6 mins read

This Opinion piece was originally written by Dr Odour Ongwen, the ODM Executive Director:

Just the other day after Kenyans were told of the government being a shareholding company, a damning report was released detailing how two communities – Kalenjins and Kikuyus – dominate top cadre jobs in state agencies.

The report tabled in Parliament before the National Assembly Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Cohesion by various heads of the state agencies, indicated the two communities form the bulk of employees in all the agencies so far examined.

An earlier report by the Public Service Commission (PSC) on its part showed that Kikuyus and Kalenjins dominated top jobs in government, embassies and chief executive positions in parastatals.

In the latest case, the House committee chaired by Mandera West MP Adan Haji has been meeting all state agencies to evaluate the ethnic composition of their employees to determine whether they comply with Section 7 of the National Cohesion and Integration Act.

The Act states: “No public establishment shall have more than one-third of its staff from the same ethnic community.”

It further states in Section 7(1) and (2) that all offices shall seek to represent the diversity of the people of Kenya in the employment of staff and no public institution shall have more than one-third of its staff from the same community.

The report comes amid fears of systematic alienation of some communities from state appointments by the current regime following the assertion by Rigathi Gachagua that the government was a shareholding company – with the majority shares being held by its supporters, while others hold few or none at all.

In his typical act of impunity, Gachagua as recently as last week, renewed the assertion that government appointments and contracts were a preserve of those who voted for the regime, with least consideration to be given to those who did not support it.

His remarks not only portend the danger of polarising the country but are against Article 131 of the Constitution which envisages a presidency that promotes the unity of the nation and ensures the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of the law.

That is why as Azimio Coalition, we are opposed to ethnic profiling going in the public service and the exclusionist policies being implemented by this regime devoid of the fact that all Kenyans are taxpayers.

Since this regime assumed office, the country has seen a trend whereby people from specific ethnic and political backgrounds are fired and replaced by counterparts from certain ethnic backgrounds and political affiliations.

Article 10 of the Constitution provides for national values that include – national unity, participation of the people, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, non-discrimination, protection of the marginalised and good governance.

These values and principles are binding to all state officers who are expected to apply them when making and implementing public policy decisions.

Article 27 of the Constitution also demands that everyone is treated equally and should not be discriminated against directly or indirectly and on any ground, including political affiliation and/or non-affiliation.

But Gachagua has instead engaged in promoting favouritism and entrenching division against the oath he took six months ago to always diligently serve Kenyans and do justice without favour or ill will.

The absurdity of his contention is seen from the fact that all Kenyans being taxpayers, and by discriminating against a section of them, he is actually going against the spirit of Article 1 of the Constitution, which states that sovereign power belongs to the people, and the power he enjoys is delegated by the same people.

There is no doubt this regime has failed inclusivity and diversity test; as what Kenyans are witnessing is a deliberate exercise to replace appointees of former President Uhuru Kenyatta across state agencies with allies, leaving out certain ethnic communities.

So far, the regime has made board changes in at least 58 parastatals, replacing more than 100 appointees of the Uhuru administration with regime-friendly ones. It has also hired at least 119 chairs and directors in over 60 parastatals, according to Kenya Gazette notices.

The ethnic composition of appointments by this regime must be subjected to continuous scrutiny to ensure offices funded by the taxpayer have a face of Kenya as per the 2010 Constitution which introduced ethnic representation requirements to check the trend where tribesmen of those in power are favoured in public service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Inside Uhuru, Ndayishimiye Sunday Meeting

Next Story

Ruto is Taxing Kenyan Jackasses and They Should be Quiet

Latest from Blog