Turkana leaders raise concern over NGO jobs

A girl herds goats in the Northern parts of Kenya. [File, Standard]

Turkana leaders have directed UN agencies operating in the region to consider hiring qualified locals for top positions, while warning some non-government organisations of potential violations of labour laws.

In a speech to leaders in Lodwar, Turkana central legislator Joseph Emathe Namuar accused some UN agencies of favouring foreigners over locals in job placement.

Namuar explained that locals must enjoy the benefits of devolved units as prescribed by the law, and thus NGOs working in the region must employ 70 per cent locals.

“It appears that some UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the region have ignored the fact that locals must be given preference in job placements. “We have hundreds of qualified graduates with specialised skills who are underutilised,” Namuar said.

The MP regretted that some non-governmental organisations still believed that locals were uneducated, despite the fact that the region has a pool of graduates with PhDs, master’s degrees, and undergraduate degrees.

“We have a formidable pool of graduates who are up to the job,” said the MP. “We can demonstrate to Kenyans that the region is home to a large number of specialised unemployed graduates. NGOs should stop bringing in specialised task forces from outside the country. We are no longer in the past, but rather in the present.

“We have a formidable pool of graduates who are up to the task,” said the MP. The legislator explained that the law specifies that locals should be given 70 per cent of the employment share, while the rest of Kenyans compete for the remaining 30 per cent, but some disgruntled elements have ignored the law.

He warned that if they are not satisfied with the arrangement, they will be unable to operate in the region and should pack their belongings and leave.

According to the MP, the majority of higher learning institutions in the country are managed by locals who understand community issues.

County Assembly minority leader Samuel Lomodo said they will introduce legislation on the floor of the House to compel NGOs to adhere to the 70 per cent employment rule. “We will enact legislation to govern the employment of our own people who have been marginalised. We’ve noticed that the majority of the personnel have been denied employment rights,” Lomodo said.

The Standard
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