1 August 2014

Kenya Police Service Explains Tribal Quotas Used to Keep Recruitment Balanced

Photo: Amnesty International
Kenya police (file photo): Hiring in 36 centres cancelled.

Deputy Director of Personnel for Kenya's National Police Service Commission (NPSC) Kitoo Kapchanga explained the quota system that determined tribal representation in the recent police recruitment exercise, drawing sharp criticism from lawmakers, Kenya's Daily Nation reported Thursday (July 31st).

The NPSC determined the proportional representation of each of Kenya's 42 tribes already in the service, and then calculated the number of recruits necessary to maintain that representation, Kapchanga told the National Assembly's National Security Committee.

"We realised that in the Kenya Police Service there are peoples who are marginalised," he said. "The population is less than 1,000 and these marginalised groups got a baseline of 25 upfront."

Adjustments also were made to boost the representation of 30 under-represented groups, which together got a baseline of 1,000 slots.

National Police Service Commission Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi said the NPSC used the 2009 census to determine ethnic proportions across the country and that the formula was used to ensure recruits came from all regions and tribes.

Lawmakers dismissed the quota system as both idealistic and corrupt.

"It sounds very academic and I believe it is impractical. It is very sweet, but it never works," said lawmaker Ibrahim Saney of Wajir North. "Tribes are not bound by formulas."

Lawmaker Wanjika Muhia of Nyandarua County called for the commission to resign for coming up with a skewed and opaque recruitment process.

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