OUKO FLAGS TRIBAL HOUSES

Flagrant ethnic bias in skewed county hiring

12 assemblies found in breach of National Cohesion and Integration Act and County Government Act

In Summary

• State agencies must ensure at least 30 per cent of entry-level posts are filled by candidates who are not from the dominant ethnic community.

• Is the National Cohesion and Integration Commission doing its job?

Auditor Genral Edward Ouko at a past function.
Auditor Genral Edward Ouko at a past function.
Image: FILE

Twelve county assemblies have blatantly hired their ethnic kinsman in violation of the constitutional requirement that only two-thirds of their workforce can come from their regions.

Audit reports for the 2017-18 financial year reveal counties, especially in Rift Valley, Central and parts of Western, are recruiting and hiring illegally in favour of the dominant community.

Auditor General Edward Ouko revealed of West Pokot's 95 workers, 85 are from the dominant community. This represents 89 per cent of the entire workforce. 

 

Turkana county hired 204 employees from the local community out of its workforce of 214 — 96 per cent.

Section 65 of the County Governments Act, 2012, stipulates that County Public Service Boards must ensure 30 per cent of vacant posts at entry level are filled by candidates who are not from the dominant ethnic community.

The reports revealed that a number of counties also lack a clear policy framework for hiring staff, which leads to officials working in an acting capacity for too long. 

For instance, Uasin Gishu county hired 80 workers (87 per cent) from the dominant community, leaving only 12 slots to others.

SKEWED POLICIES

Section 65 of the County Governments Act, 2012, stipulates that County Public Service Boards must ensure 30 per cent of vacant posts at entry level are filled by candidates who are not from the dominant ethnic community.

The reports revealed that a number of counties lack a clear policy framework for hiring staff, which leads to officials working in an acting capacity for too long. 

“Further, the county recruited six new officers on a contract basis from the dominant ethnic community,” Ouko said.

Kericho was found to lack an established system for recruitment, meaning hiring is conducted without any formula.

Eleyo Marakwet assembly has 68 workers, of whom 65 are from the dominant ethnic group. That's almost the same as Bomet where the assembly hired 69 new employees, 56  from the dominant ethnic group.

 

During the audit period, Nandi county assembly was found to have hired nine workers in violation of the one-third rule. 

A scrutiny of the Kakamega county assembly payroll revealed that the county had 80 staff members, 93 per cent from the dominant community.

Ethnic imbalance is a concern in most state departments and other government establishments. It is feared the National Cohesion and Integration Commission is not doing enough to end discrimination.

Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime has proposed a Bill in Parliament seeking to compel all state organs in national and county assemblies  submit annual reports on details of human resources, including ethnic composition

This would apply to constitutional commissions, independent offices, county public service boards and county assembly public service boards.

“The reports should contain details outlining the total number of employees and highlighting their gender, age, county of birth and county of residence,” the lawmaker says in the proposal.

“By receiving the annual reports, legislators will be able to analyse and query non-compliant state organs,” Mwadime said.

In Kiambu, the county assembly has 87 employees of whom 79 per cent are from the dominant community. The balance is shared by five ethnic groups.

“The financial statements were signed and delivered for audit by the clerk but no information or documentary evidence show how the position of the clerk was filled,” Ouko of Kiambu.

The Meru County Assembly was also found to be in breach of the law as 71 of the 74 county assembly workers are from the dominant community.

Section 7 of the NCIC Act also says that any public establishment shall have no more than two-thirds of its staff from the dominant ethnic community.

The same is the case in Nyeri where 90 per cent of permanent employees at the county assembly are from one ethnic group. The same is true in Samburu at 88 per cent.

“Further, on gender, only 26 per cent of the Samburu county employees were female,” Ouko reported.

In Western, Vihiga county assembly violated the law, hiring 97 per cent of its employees from the dominant community.

Wajirdid not demonstrate how it has dealt with the variances in staff ranking in the absence of a staff establishment framework.

Apart from county assemblies, Ouko had earlier flagged the imbalances on the part of county executive where most of them were found to have hired people from dominant communities within the devolved units’ jurisdiction.

The question of ethnic balance and imbalance has also arisen on many occasions when the national government nominates candidates for various agencies, especially parastatals.