The Star (Nairobi)

28 July 2014

Kenya: Hiring of KPC Staff Is Tribal, Says Ombudsman

A damning report by the Office of the Ombudsman has found the Kenya Pipeline Corporation culpable for nepotism and discrimination in staff recruitment.

The new report is a direct indictment of KPC Managing Director Charles Tanui, complete with statistics indicating that his Kalenjin community is favoured during employment by the multi-billion-shilling State corporation.

According to analysis by the Otiende Amolo-led Commission on the Administration of Justice, a whopping 441 staffers, out of the total 1,646, come from Tanui's Kalenjin community.

"An examination of the overall staff complement by ethnicity reveals an over-representation of some ethnicities beyond expected levels in relation to the Census," the CAJ report reads in part.

"The numbers are skewed in favour of the Kalenjin community if one needs to make a comparison with the latest Census report, where the percentage population of the community was put at 13.3 per cent."

CAJ also confirmed a story that the Star exclusively reported in May, indicating that the giant corporation had employed 13 people out of 33 staffers from the MD's community around April this year.

"Nowhere in his response did the MD dispute that the 13 out of 33 employees in the initial phase were from the Kalenjin community," the report said.

In his own letter, Tanui indicated that there are 314 staff from the Kikuyu community, 236 from the Luo community, 108 from the Kamba community and 110 from the Luhya community.

However, the Office of the Ombudsman criticised his classification, saying it clustered the Luhya differently from other Luhya sub-tribes such as the Banyore, Bukusu and Maragoli.

Tanui's letter further shows that there are 57 employees in the firm from the Meru community, 88 from the Gusii community, 15 from the Maasai and 9 from the Miji-Kenda.

"Looking at the Census report vis a vis the ethnic composition of KPC, certain communities have been disadvantaged if weighed against the total population," the report concluded.

According to Article 232 of the Constitution, which addresses the values and principles of the public service, all public institutions are required to hire competent Kenyans from diverse communities.

Kenya is a multi-ethnic state with a minimum 42 different tribes. "The values and principles of public service include representation of diverse communities and affording adequate and equal opportunities for appointment, training and advancement, at all levels of the public service, of men and women; members of all ethnic groups; and persons with disabilities," says Article 232 of the Constitution.

Otiende has now directed the Corporation to remedy the situation by what he termed as "conscious Affirmative Action", even as it emerged that KPC is in the process of hiring an additional 1,000 employees.

Tanui said that the Corporation would employ because of a number of upcoming projects and expansion of infrastructure. "Filling these positions will be through a phased recruitment process that is fair, transparent and that will take into account the constitutional principles," Tanui stated.

But CAJ warned that recruitment at any one time must reflect the face of Kenya. "It appears from the response of the MD, Mr Tanui, that it doesn't matter how the recruitment process is conducted as long as the final results reflect regional balance," the report said.

"This supposition is not correct, since it usually takes time from one recruitment process to another and this was not the intention of the Constitution."

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