Have face of Kenya in public sector jobs

Thursday February 22 2018

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The Public Service Commission is spot on with a proposal that seeks to foster equity in civil service employment.

As currently constituted, there are marked disparities, with some regions having inordinately high numbers of employees at the expense of others.

Yet public service by its very nature is expected to represent the face of Kenya.

It is financed by public taxes and should be open to all citizens.

Any qualified citizen should have a chance to get a job in the civil service irrespective of ethnicity or region.

But the service has suffered greatly due to the political meddling that has created a scenario where some communities, because of proximity to power, dominate the positions, more so, in the top ranks.

This has elicited disenchantment and quite often has become the subject of discourse in political and social circles.

To be sure, independent reports such as one by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission indicate that five ethnic groups dominate jobs in the public service.

This is unfair. The Constitution expressly provides for equity, fairness and merit in public appointments.

It presupposes that all communities must be accorded a chance to serve the country and benefit from resources. Unfortunately, this has consistently been flouted.

The commission is proposing a formula that imposes a caveat on the number of public jobs that can go to any community.


In this regard, the number of employees from any ethnic group will be pro-rated to the population of the community.

No ethnic group should have a huge representation, while others are left out.

On paper, this is a solid proposal. However, it must be insulated against political influence, which tends to pervert even the noblest of ideas.

The principle must go beyond the traditional civil service to include universities, parastatals and county governments, where ethnicity is entrenched.

We must get rid of the warped notion that the civil service is a preserve of a few and lock out politicians and power brokers from determining public sector recruitment.