Public Service Commission should set ethnic guidelines

In Summary

• Between two equal candidates, choose the one who will increase diversity.

• There is a tendency for bigger communities to dominaye particular institutions.

Public Service Commission
Public Service Commission

Yesterday the Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity criticised the Kenya Revenue Authority for having 45 percent of executive positions taken by Central Province (see P7).

This is not an exclusively Kikuyu problem. Last week the same parliamentary committee found that one-third of the key positions in the Auditor-General's office are occupied by Luos.


It appears that once a  certain community achieves critical mass in a particular institution, it starts trying to find jobs for its tribemates.

Over time, the bigger ethnic groups will become disproportionately represented in government institutions.

Appointments should be on the basis of merit but often an interviewing panel will find two candidates with almost equal marks. At that point, the panel can take into account the ethnicity of the candidate. Between two equal candidates, it would make sense to choose the one who would increase the ethnic diversity, or gender diversity, of the institution.

The problem is that there are no rules for ethnicity in government recruitment. The Public Service Commission should now issue clear guidelines on how ethnic balance should be taken into account when recruiting and promoting staff.

Quote of the day: "I have news for you, there is no Superman. It’s up to us."

Tom Mboya
The Kenyan politician was shot dead on 5 July, 1969

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