MPs accuse KNEC of fueling ethnic imbalance

Kenya National Examination Council’s offices in Nairobi. Seven communities have taken 306 of the 341 job positions at the exam body. [File, Standard]
Members of Parliament have accused Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) of fueling ethnic imbalance in its recruitment.

A document by the examination body tabled before the National Assembly’s Cohesion and Equal Opportunity committee revealed that communities that have had more members continue to get hired in large numbers against the requirement.

Of the 341 positions at the council, Kamba, Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Meru, Kisii and Kalenjins hold the majority.

The seven communities also lead in latest recruitment in what MPs termed as continued perpetuation of ethnic imbalance at the state agency.

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Appearing before the committee yesterday, the council’s acting chief officer Grace Karogo said Kamba currently accounts for 22 per cent of the total workforce while Kikuyu comes second at 21.

Others are Luhya at 17 per cent, Luo (10.58 per cent), Kisii (5.53 per cent) while Meru has a total of 5.53 per cent of employees at the body.

And in its new recruitment, Kikuyu was the highest at 45 recruits followed by Kamba at 29. Luhya has 28, Luo 27, Kalenjin 22, Kisii 16 while Embu has 9 new employees.

The seven tribes have cumulatively grabbed 306 positions, leaving a paltry 35 posts to the over 30 other communities.

The Maina Kamanda-led committee has been conducting an audit of ethnic and gender composition in state agencies in a fresh bid to have them comply with the constitutional requirement for state offices to have the face of the country.

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

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

But in most of the audit already carried out, it is emerging that state agencies were having more of its workforce from the chief officer’s ethnic group.

In its defence, the council said it has always faced challenges in getting applicants from certain communities in some specialized technical jobs.

The officer further said that the council has longer working hours that she said was a challenge to people with disabilities.

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