REGIONAL BALANCE

MPs slam Knec for perpetuating ethnic imbalance

Kamba, Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Meru, Kisii and Kalenjin communities hold the majority of the 341 positions at the examinations body.

In Summary

• MPs faulted Knec for favouring particular communities in its recent recruitment thus maintaining ethnic imbalance that has dogged the state agency.

• Parliament's Cohesion and Equal Opportunity Committee has been carrying out an audit of the gender and ethnic composition of various state agencies and institutions to ensure they comply with constitution provision ethnic balance.

Education PS Belio Kipsang with KNEC CEO Mercy Karogo during the meeting with education stakeholders forum on the preparedness of the 2019 KCPE, KCSE examinations at KICD, Nairobi,June 24, 2019.
Education PS Belio Kipsang with KNEC CEO Mercy Karogo during the meeting with education stakeholders forum on the preparedness of the 2019 KCPE, KCSE examinations at KICD, Nairobi,June 24, 2019.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

The National Assembly has blasted the Kenya National Examination Council for perpetuating ethnic imbalance at the examinations body.

Parliament's Cohesion and Equal Opportunity Committee yesterday faulted Knec for favouring certain communities in its recent recruitment, a move that worsened an already bad situation.  

According to the council’s report submitted to the Maina Kamanda-led committee, communities that are overrepresented at Knec are still being hired in huge numbers without consideration to the underrepresented ones.

 

The committee has been carrying out an audit of the gender and ethnic composition of various state agencies and institutions to ensure they comply with the constitutional provision on ethnic balance.

The Constitution requires that not more than one-third of the personnel of any state agency be of the same gender or ethnic group.

The law further requires that five per cent of the entire workforce should be made up of people living with disabilities.

According to Knec’s report, Kamba, Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Meru, Kisii and Kalenjin communities hold the majority of the 341 positions at the examinations body. 

Members of the seven communities also lead in the number of new recruits to the council.

Knec’s acting chief executive officer Grace Karogo told MPs that currently, the council has the highest number of staff from Kamba community at 21.8 per cent. 

Employees from the Kikuyu community are the second largest group at 21 per cent.

 

According to Karogo, Luhyas are 17.07 per cent, Luo (10.58 per cent), Kisii (5.53 per cent) and Meru (5.53 per cent).

The seven communities cumulatively account for 306 of the staff leaving the rest of the communities to share the remaining 35 positions.

But in the council’s recruitment of staff since 2010 - a document also shared with the committee - the same dominating communities also had the biggest chunk of the 201 new recruits.

Among the new recruits, Kikuyus were 45, Kamba (29), Luhya (28), Luo (27), Kalenjin (22), Kisii (16) and Embu (9).

MPs Ong’ondo Were (Kasipul), Zadoc Ogutu (Bomachoge Borabu) and Jacquiline Oduol (Nominated) accused the council of doing little to correct the ethnic imbalances.

“Since 2010, the groups that were overrepresented still hog the positions in the new recruitment. Groups that are underrepresented still lag behind,” Ogutu said.

Ong’ondo further faulted the council for operating below the five per cent threshold for the employment of people living with disabilities.

Knec has only 3.4 per cent of its entire workforce made up of staff with special needs instead. 

But in mitigation, Karogo cited lack of applications from certain communities and low response for technical job openings for its staff imbalance.

(edited by O. Owino)