Recruitment of 1,406 KRA revenue clerks ruled unconstitutional

Kenya Revenue Authority revenue service assistants during their passout parade in Eldoret on August 25, 2023. [Courtesy)

The High Court has nullified the recruitment of 1,406 Kenya Revenue Authority revenue clerks

Justice William Musyoka sitting in Busia, noted that out of the 1,406 clerks hired, 785 were Kikuyu and Kalenjin, going against the spirit of the Constitution of inclusivity. 

The court pointed out that Thika Town constituency got 50 slots and Kiharu constituency, 40 slots above the others. 

That contrasted with 11 other constituencies, which got a mere slot each. Busia County had 13 slots, Kisii County 19, and Makueni County 15.  

"The case by the petitioner Peter Kabinga Orongo is that the distribution of the 1,406 slots should have been a little bit more even, guided by the demographics of Kenya, as per the population census last conducted in 2019," ruled Justice Musyoka. 

Orongo argued that going by the demographics, the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin, and some regions, got a share that was disproportionately high compared to the rest. 

He blamed the situation on the KRA Board Chairman Anthony Mwaura saying the constituencies where he allegedly hails from or is associated with, appeared to benefit disproportionately from the recruitment.  

Justice Musyoka noted that the respondents, Mwaura and Commissioner General KRA Humphrey Mulongo, did not contest the facts, figures or statistics just saying that most of the applicants came from the Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities. 

Secondly, the KRA chairman and Commissioner General said that, because of the high number of applicants, it was difficult to achieve ethnic diversity and regional balance.  

The duo argued the nature of tax collection demanded that recruitment should focus on merit, and less on regional balancing, arguments that the court frowned upon. 

"Statistics on population of the various communities in Kenya, from the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census, project that the Kikuyu constitute 18 per cent of the Kenyan population, while the Kalenjin comprise 14 per cent. Combined, that would make 32 per cent of the total population, meaning the other local communities would comprise 68 per cent of the population," said Justice Musyoka. 

"An even sharing of the employment slots between the communities would mean that the Kikuyu and Kalenjin combined would be entitled to an allocation of 32 per cent of the total number of slots available, leaving 68 per cent to be shared by the rest of the communities. Going by those statistics, the 56 per cent allotted to the two communities appears to be grotesquely disproportionate to what was the due share to them." 

The petitioner's case was that KRA, sometime in June 2023, conducted the recruitment of 1,406 revenue service assistants, out of which 614 were female and 792 males.  

Orongo argued that 785 of the 1,406, representing 55.8 per cent of the total recruitment, came from two communities in Kenya, while the rest, 621 of the 1,406, representing 44.2 per cent of the total, came from the rest of the Kenyan communities. 

He said those percentages were not proportionate to the last population census in Kenya. He further avers that Mwaura hails from Thika Constituency, Kiambu County, but with roots in Kiharu constituency, Murang’a County, and that Thika and Kiharu benefited immensely from the recruitment, compared to other constituencies across the country.  

Orongo noted that Thika Town constituency got 50 slots, while Kiharu constituency got 40 slots; compared to one each allocated to Funyula, Matayos, Teso North, Bomachoge Borabu, Bomachoge Chache, Kitutu Chache, South Mugirango, Kisumu East, Kibwezi East, Kibwezi West and Kilome constituencies.  

He further said that Thika Town and Kiharu constituencies got a total of 90 slots, which was more than what some counties got, such as Busia County, which had 13 slots, Kisii county 19 and Makueni County, 15 slots. 

Orongo asserts that the fact that the two constituencies associated with Mwaura got a lion’s share of the slots was not justified and breached constitutional principles relating to equity, social justice, inclusiveness and protection of the marginalised, good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability, as it lacked ethnic diversity and regional balance.

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