NCIC proposes funding cuts to counties, varsities to enforce ethnic diversity

Thursday September 22 2016

By JOSEPH OPENDA
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The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) wants county governments and universities that do not meet the 30 per cent ethnic representation penalised through funding restrictions.

In radical proposals meant to stem ethnicity in the institutions, NCIC has recommended stiff penalties for governors and county public service boards and vice chancellors, including having the Treasury cut down their allocation if they are not inclusive.

According to NCIC commissioner Dr Roba Sharamo, the proposals have already been presented to the Senate for action with regard to counties that have not complied with current requirements.

“Very soon senators will summon all governors who have not complied and chairs of county service boards…these are some of the fundamental changes that we are working on to curb ethnicity in our institutions,” he said.

His comments come in the wake of increased concern over ethnicity challenges in counties and universities.

In the most recent case, two governors, Mr Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and Mr Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet accompanied by MPs from the North Rift stormed Moi University protesting the appointment of Prof Laban Ayiro as an acting vice-chancellor.

The politicians described Prof Ayiro as an outsider.

Most county governments and a majority of Kenyan universities have been put on the spot over their ethnic composition.

ETHNIC IMBALANCE

Previous audits by various bodies have revealed a serious ethnic imbalance in employment in county governments and universities in favor of dominant communities.

This is in contravention of Section 177 (C) of the Constitution on ethnic distribution in county authorities.

Section 7 of the National Cohesion and Integration Act, a further actualisation of Section 177 of the constitution on discrimination in employment requires all public establishments to represent the diversity of the people of Kenya in the employment of staff.

Part 2 of the same section stipulates that no public establishment shall have more than one third of its staff from the same ethnic community.

In a bid to stem the practice, NCIC has sought the input of the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) with a view to have weight put on how inclusive a county government is when it comes to funding considerations.

“One of the key recommendations we are making is that going forward, the allocation of public funds to county governments should put weight on how inclusive a county is. So a county that is not inclusive will lose some millions,” Dr Sharamo said.

“We are reviewing the Acts to make the penalties extremely stiff for a governor to be held personally liable as well as the chairperson of the County Public Service Board if they contravene these provisions,” he said.

INHERITED STAFF

Dr Sharamo, however, argued that most of the county governments inherited unbalanced staff from former county councils.

“We need a lot of capacity building, our audits are not just looking at faults we also want to correct the systems-some of those structural inefficiencies which are there, he said.

The commissioner said the same will apply to universities where the Treasury will be be forced to cut down funds to those that do not meet the requirements during resource allocation.

According to Dr Sharamo, most Kenyan universities have 89-90 per cent of employees recruited from the ethnic community where the institution is located.

“Universities are centres of excellence and we need to be nurturing Kenyans who are global sort of citizens. They should portray the face of Kenya,” he said.