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NCIC asks governors to be equitable in employment

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has launched the second edition of the Ethnic and Diversity Audit of the County Public Service, 2023 Report with efforts to foster and increase equitable and vibrant community for all.

According to NCIC, the legal provision states that employment in each county should not be skewed towards the dominant ethnic group, that is, it should at least not exceed 70 percent when employing dominants and at the same time, also ensure that there is balance and fairness to all the ethnic groups in the county.

NCIC had earlier worked hand in hand with county executives, where the latter submitted data on diversity in the workspaces of respective counties.

All counties, except Garissa County, complied, and only thirteen counties out of forty-seven have complied with the required legal provision.

Speaking during the event, one of the NCIC Commissioner Abdul-Aziz Farah said that the study was conducted at the 10th anniversary of devolution to establish whether there are gains since counties came into existence.

“The study was conducted because Kenyans have suffered inequalities perpetuated by colonial masters and successive governments,” added Farah.

“Our main problem as a country is inequitable distribution of resources. The theatre of this conflict is in counties,” he maintained, noting that diversity includes culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and religion.

In a presentation done by NCIC Vice Chairperson Wambui Nyutu and Chair Technical Committee NCIC Danvas Makori, it was revealed that from the thirteen counties that had complied with the required legal provision, Marsabit County took the first position employing 33 percent of the Borana ethnic group which are its dominant and was followed closely by Lamu, Tana River and Nairobi counties respectively.

However, the duo also noted that some of the counties did not adhere to the provision, such as Bomet County, which has employed 97.35 percent of Kalenjins, who are its dominants, the same with Elgeyo Marakwet County with 96.7 percent of its employees from the dominating Kalenjin community. Also in the list was Vihiga County with 95.98 percent of the dominating Luhya community.

“It is sad to note that 29 tribes take only one percent of the jobs. This is shocking, it is not inclusive,” lamented Makori.

Further, the report disclosed that Nairobi County has the highest number of employees at 13, 510 followed by Kakamega (7,087) and Bungoma (6,477).

In her remarks, Commissioner Nyutu took the chance to appreciate the fact that out of the 184,876 jobs, 53 percent are taken by women.

The study shows that some of the challenges that are seen to cause the imbalance while focusing on diversity include; political interference, perception of favoritism in job allocation and insecurity, and fear of a repeat of 2007/2008 post-election violence.

The Chairperson of the NCIC Dr. Samuel Kobia highlighted three remedies to rectify the situation, the first one being that Kenyans should not perceive what is said in the constitution concerning diversity as just a suggestion but a legal requirement that must be emphasized and complied with.

The second remedy according to Kobia is for Governors to be reminded that they indeed have both legal and moral imperatives to ensure compliance with all constitutional and legal provisions since they are their counties’ CEOs hence the custodians of all matters of devolution.

“You cannot be over-emphasized, you are the symbol of unity at the county level just as the president is the symbol of unity at the national level,” Kobia reiterated.

Third remedy, the Chairperson called upon all governors to act as examples in terms of compliance.

 By Juma Nalami

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