The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has proposed a Sh10 million fine for governors who fail to employ non-locals in a bid to promote ethnic balance in public service.
Dr Roba Sharamo, a commissioner, said consistent failure by the counties to strike ethnic balance has forced the commission to propose amendment of the County Government Act to introduce hefty fines.
“Our proposal is that if a governor violates the law and uses public funds to enrich a certain ethnic group, they face a penalty of up to Sh10 million,” he said.
Dr Sharamo maintained that governors will be held personally liable for ethnic inequality and imbalance in the county public service.
The commissioners were attending the sixth annual conference on Independent Offices and Constitutional Commissions at White Rhino Hotel in Nyeri County.
Since governors took the oath of office after the August 8 elections, Dr Sharamo said, the commission had received numerous complaints about county bosses being biased in recruitment.
“We want to send a signal to the new crop of governors who might be inheriting some challenges. They must look back and audit their county service and check on ethnic balance,” he said.
An ethnic audit report on all the 47 counties done by NCIC in 2016 revealed that only 15 counties had complied with the law that stipulates that only 70 per cent of jobs can go to the dominant group in that county.
The County Government Act says at least 30 per cent of jobs should go to members of ethnic groups not dominant in a county.
Dr Sharamo also told chairpersons of the county public service boards to resist pressure from governors, who he said normally push for their campaigners to be hired.
“We are encouraging the governors to work with the boards and recruit people based on competence, but not political loyalty,” he said.
NCIC is currently meeting with members of public service boards from 14 counties.
“We are basically sensitising them on compliance of the law so that counties have the face of Kenya,” he said.
Speaking at the conference, Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) chairman Eliud Wabukala appealed to Kenyans to shun tribalism, noting that it is hampering the fight against corruption. He noted that the culture of corruption is embedded in our systems.
“I invite all Kenyans to change the narrative and stop looking at the cartels but look at ourselves because even us, with an opportunity around, you will be corrupt,” he said.