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Some tribes have more than their share of plum jobs

By Dominic Omondi | September 6th 2020

Some ethnic communities have more than their fair share of senior government positions, a departure from the legal requirement that employment in public service be equal to population.

A document tabled by Public Service and Gender Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia before the Senate Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration shows that for some communities, distribution of jobs in the high job cadres far exceeds their populations.

The report listed the number of employees in government ministries, embassies, state agencies, departments and parastatals, their ethnicity and their counties.

Opportunities in the Government should be proportionate to the population, according to the law.  

While there were some communities that were heavily represented, such as the Kikuyu who took up 29 per cent of the senior management positions in the national government against a population percentage of 17.4 per cent, others such as Luhyias were not.

Luhyia have eight per cent of top government positions against a population size of 14.5 per cent.

Others whose share of senior government offices exceeded their population size were Meru who took up 6.5 per cent of the plum public service positions compared to a general population size of 4.2 per cent.

Maasai, with 19 positions, were also well represented at 4.6 per cent against a population size of 2.5 per cent.

Other beneficiaries were Borana, Taita, Teso and Embu, whose populations in high public offices were higher relative to their populations.

On the other hand, the Kamba, with a population size of 10 per cent, were slightly disadvantaged with a representation of 6.5 per cent in senior government offices.

Others that have lost are Kalenjin, Kisii, and Mijikenda.

State intervention

Ms Kobia told senators the Government has since put in place measures to cure this problem, even as she insisted senior government positions are filled competitively through advertisements and interviews.

“In the recent years there have greater global representation of ethnic communities in the Public Service as indicated in the ‘Public Service Commission December 2019 Evaluation Report on Status of Public Service Compliance with Values and Principles,” said Kobia.

She added that qualifications, experiences and competencies alongside regional balancing are considered when recruiting in order to adhere to the principle of regional balancing and affirmative action.  

The 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

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

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