EXPERT COMMENT

National unity will remain elusive if counties are ethnic enclaves

In Summary

• Of keen interest to the Commission is the equitable distribution of public employment as a resource.

• Our 2016 research revealed that only 15 counties (31.9%) have adhered to this provision.

 

NCIC CEO Hassan Mohammed during a press briefing in Nairobi on May 21, 2019.
NCIC CEO Hassan Mohammed during a press briefing in Nairobi on May 21, 2019.
Image: ENOS TECHE

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission’s vision of an integrated, peaceful and cohesive Kenyan society can only be achieved when all Kenyans are included in social, political and economic processes at both national and county levels.

 

Of keen interest to the Commission is the equitable distribution of public jobs as a resource. Section 65 of County Government Act, 2012 requires counties to allocate at least 30% of their employment slots to communities that are not dominant in the county.

Our 2016 research revealed that only 15 counties (31.9%) have complied with this provision. It is of great concern that 68% of the counties have hired more than 70% of their employees from one ethnic group. This implies that in spite of the existing laws, county recruitments continue to be in contravention of the law that guides the process.

NCIC has trained Public Service Board members of all counties that are in breach of Articles 10 and 232 of the Constitution.

The resulting network of 32 County Public Service Board technical staff members shares best practices and experiences around including other ethnicities in their own counties.

Some of the strategies include reserving certain posts for non-dominant communities as was the case with Kiambu County, requesting other counties to share adverts apart from circulating in newspapers with national coverage.

Moreover, the Commission has encouraged the use of affirmative action in order to include minority communities in county employment because members of these communities may have internalized discrimination and require encouragement.

For instance, Bungoma and Marsabit counties recruited some members of the Bungomek and Dasenach communities respectively under affirmative action.

 
 
 

We cannot attain national unity if our counties continue to be seen as ethnic enclaves.

In fact, according to the Constitution and the aspirations of Kenyans, devolution is meant to foster national unity.

Despite the growing inclusion of minorities in some counties, a large number remain non-compliant.

Therefore, county governments should deliberately work towards compliance with not only the County Government Act, but also the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008 together with the Constitution of Kenya.

The NCIC secretary spoke to the Star