Despite 10 years of devolution, minority groups in Kenya remain underrepresented in county employment.
This has been demonstrated in a recent report dubbed Ethnic and Diversity Audit of the County Public Service 2023 conducted by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission(NCIC).
NCIC says counties are yet to embrace all the 36 communities in the country noting minority communities hold less than 1% of county jobs.
"The study findings reveal that 10 communities dominate the county public service that is, Kalenjin 15.45%, Kikuyu 15.40%, Luhya 13.00%, Luo 9.15%, Kamba 8.73%, Kisii 7.50%, Mijikenda 5.08%, Meru 4.78%, Somali 4.31%, and Maasai 4.00%," the study shows.
"On the other hand, only four minority ethnic groups are the most represented in counties: mainly, Somali 4.31%, Maasai 4.00%, Turkana 1.92% and Taita1.56%."
Data also reveals county appointments are skewed towards the governor’s ethnic community since a majority of counties 85.10% have similar ethnic groups at the governor level, management and the county’s dominant ethnic group.
Similarly, the report points out that the highest number of new employees in the county public service staff are from Kenya’s dominant ethnic groups, namely Kikuyu (15.9%), Kalenjin (14.1%), Luhya (13.8%), Kamba (8.64%), Luo (8.54%) and Kisii (6.54%).
"The minority communities have been sidelined with less than 1% representation of the new hires. This implies that in spite of the existing law and the numerous awareness strategies that have been employed within the seven years (2016-2023), new recruitments continue to contravene the provisions of the law."
The study also reveals that the most represented ethnic communities occupy 87.6% of all the positions, leaving only 12.4% of the remaining 35 communities of Kenya.
Further, the report shows overall, 32 counties (68%) have employed more than 20 ethnic groups, with at least five counties having employees from more than 30 ethnic groups.
These include Nairobi (38), Nakuru (32), Mombasa (31), Kilifi (31), and Marsabit (30).
Findings point to the fact that the more inter-ethnic interactive a country is, the more likely
it is to comply with the provisions of the law.
NCIC recommends in order to remedy the growing levels of inequalities between dominant and minority communities "...counties should adopt strategies such as targeted recruitment."