Diversity Audit of the County Public Service
Edward Ouko
Homa Bay
National Cohesion and Integration Commission
The Auditor General

Western counties fail ethnicity test

The Auditor-General has accused western counties of making little effort to address the ethnic imbalance in staffing, arguing that the situation has worsened over the past five years. Mr Edward Ouko’s report shows Kisumu, Homa Bay, Kisii, Nyamira and Migori have more than 90 per cent of their staff from the local dominant community in breach of law that bars a single tribe from taking more than 30 per cent of the jobs.In Kisumu, the payroll statistics revealed that 97 per cent of the employees were from the dominant ethnic community of the county while Homa Bay had more than 95 per cent.“No public establishment shall have more than one-third of its staff from the same ethnic community,” said Mr Ouko.“Consequently, the county recruitment procedures of the County Government Act have not been adhered to.”In Kisii, 91 per cent of the 3,611 employees are from the dominant ethnic community while in Nyamira 94 per cent of 4,150 county workers are from one tribe.Findings of a preliminary report on ethnic composition commissioned by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission on parastatals and county governments two years after the 2013 elections showed that ethnicity was more entrenched at than before devolution.Just as public universities are guilty of hiring staff from communities that host the institutions, county public service boards lack ethnic diversity.

The report dubbed ‘Ethnic and Diversity Audit of the County Public Service’ exposed a breach of the law.“The findings of this report allude to the fact that employment in the county public service is not only inequitable but skewed towards the dominant groups in the county,” the report showed.Article 174(b) of the Constitution provides that one of the objectives of devolution is to foster national unity by recognising diversity.The Auditor General in a 2017 report said nearly two-thirds of the 47 counties flouted the law on hiring as local community members take up nearly all the vacant positions.A report on the socio-economic audit of the new Constitution Ouko-led team compiled showed that 62 per cent of the counties had failed the regional and ethnic diversity test.“County governments are not complying with the provisions on inclusivity and promotion of regional and ethnic diversity in Kenya,” said part of the report.“They have hired invariably from the group that is numerically dominant in the county.”Dominant communities have in many cases taken over jobs in cosmopolitan counties.

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