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Report shows how only six tribes share top State jobs

By Steve Mkawale | September 4th 2020

Eighty per cent of public service positions are held by six communities.

A report on the ethnic and regional distribution of high cadre jobs in the Government shows the Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Luo, Luhya, Kamba and Kisii dominate these plum positions.

Out of the 416 top management positions in the civil service, one community holds 120.

This is 29 per cent of the total number of the ethnic diversity of top management in the civic service and twice as much as the Kalenjin community, which has 11 per cent (45) of the total workforce.

The Luo comes in the third with 41 employees, which is equivalent to 10 per cent of the total workforce at the top management in government.

Luhya, Kamba,  Meru and Kisii tribes each have a representation of eight per cent, six per cent, six per cent and five per cent in that order.


In the Cabinet, Kikuyu and Kalenjin hold four seats each, while Luhya, Luo and Meru have two each. The report shows that the big tribes dominate chief administrative secretaries (CAS)  and principal secretaries positions.

The document was tabled by Public Service and Gender Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia before the Senate Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration.

It provides a breakdown of all ethnic groups in the position of Cabinet Secretaries, chief administrative secretaries, principal secretaries, parastatal chiefs, chief executive officers of State agencies and top managers in the mainstream civil service.

The report sought by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala shows the big tribes have taken up 80 per cent of all civil service positions, leaving the rest of the tribes with a paltry 20 per cent positions to compete for.

On regional diversity, Kiambu County has the highest number of staff in the top management in the mainstream civil service with 29 civil servants closely followed by the neighbouring Murang’a, which has 27.

Nyeri, Meru, Siaya and Kisii have a representation of 24, 21, 15 and 13 employees respectively while Nakuru and Narok tie with 12 employees each in the mainstream civil service.

Shocking disparities

Machakos, Kitui, Kisumu and Kirinyanga have 11 employees each closely followed by Kakamega, Uasin Gishu and Vihiga which have a representation of 10 people each in the top civil service jobs.

Senators expressed shock at the disparities, with Bomet Senator Christopher Lagat terming the trend ‘serious.’

“These disparities must be dealt with,” he said.

Senator Malala expressed fear that the trend of big tribes dominating government is also reflected in the junior cadres of the civil service. “I would like to know if these disparities trickle down to junior staff in various ministries and departments,” he said.

Committee chair, Senator Naomi Shiyonga, wondered why a few tribes should dominate government jobs “as if the rest of Kenyans are not qualified”.

“Doe it means that when we have one tribe occupying the top positions, the rest of the people are not qualified?” asked the Nominated Senator.

Kobia, however, defended the ministry on the skewed job distribution, saying deliberate efforts have been put in place to ensure the civil service has the face of Kenya.

Other tribes that make up top 10 of the ethnic groups enjoying plum jobs in the civil service include Masaai with 4.2 per cent, Somalis 4.3 per cent and Mijikienda at 2.4 per cent.

The Rendille have no person in the top management of civil service. The 2019 population census showed that the Kikuyu comprised 17.2 per cent of the total population while the Luhya represented 14.3 per cent, Kalenjin 13.4 per cent, Kamba 10.7 per cent and Luo 9.8 per cent.

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