Shock of Kenya ruled by ethnicity

Wednesday April 6 2011

National Cohesion and Integration Commission chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia. NCIC released a report on ethnicity in the civil service that shows five communities account for 70 per cent of government jobs April 6, 2011.DENNIS OKEYO

National Cohesion and Integration Commission chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia. NCIC released a report on ethnicity in the civil service that shows five communities account for 70 per cent of government jobs April 6, 2011.DENNIS OKEYO 

By PETER LEFTIE

Kenya is facing a crisis of tribalism after the first ethnic audit of the civil service revealed that the five big communities occupy nearly 70 percent of all government jobs.

The survey undertaken by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) gave shocking details of how political patronage and personality-based leadership had reduced the civil service into an exclusive club of the big communities at the expense of the so called small communities.

According to the survey, members of the Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Luhya, Kamba and Luo communities occupy 70 per cent of all jobs in the civil service.

The Kikuyu lead the pack with 22.3 per cent of all civil service jobs, followed by the Kalenjin (16.7 per cent), Luhya (11.3 per cent), Kamba (9.7 per cent), Luo (9.0 per cent) and Kisii (6.8 per cent).

The so-called small communities are at the tail end of the survey, with over twenty having less than one per cent of their population in the civil service. In fact, seven of them have less than 100 members in the civil service each.

Among those communities who have less than one per cent of their populations in the civil service include the Teso (0.9 per cent), Samburu (0.6 per cent), Pokomo (0.6 per cent), Kuria (0.5 per cent), and Mbeere (0.5 per cent) among others.

The audit reveals that the Kikuyu constitute the largest single dominant ethnic group in all ministries and departments, with the exception of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Police and Prisons departments.

The PM’s office is dominated by the Luo community, the audit reveals. The Kalenjin are the second largest group in the civil service and dominate the Prisons and the Police departments.

According to NCIC chairman, Mzalendo Kibunjia, the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin comprise close to 40 per cent of the entire civil service.

“Their numbers in the Civil Service suggest a direct relationship with the tenure of the Presidency, in that they have both had a member as president for over 20 years,” he said during the release of the report Wednesday.

Mr Kibunjia urged President Kibaki and head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura to move with speed and reshuffle staff in government departments to reflect Kenyan ethnic diversity.

The skewed recruitment into the civil service cuts across all job groups including those that do not require high educational qualifications.

For instance, the seven big communities account for over 80 percent jobs in the lowest job groups A-D. The communities include Kikuyu (20.41 per cent), Kalenjin (13.78 per cent), Luhya (11.67 per cent), Luo (11.03 per cent), Kamba (10.18 per cent), Kisii (8.42 per cent) and Meru (5.26 per cent).

The audit also reveals that the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin have a greater share of jobs in the civil service than their populations. 

 Whereas the Kikuyu constitute 17.7 per cent of the Kenyan population, they occupy 22.3 per cent of the civil service jobs. The Kalenjin on the other hand occupy 16.7 per cent of all civil service jobs despite constituting only 13.3 per cent of the population.

The Meru also occupy 5.9 per cent of all civil service jobs despite constituting 4.4 per cent of the country’s population, followed by the Kisii who occupy 6.8 per cent of all jobs despite constituting 5.9 per cent of the population.