In Summary
  • In September 2014, the Consumer Federation of Kenya sued the Kenya Airports Authority over the appointment of Lucy Mbugua as the managing director.
  • National Cohesion and Integration Commission commissioner Morris Dzoro agrees that indeed tribalism is entrenched in public institutions.

Public institutions are increasingly becoming a fertile ground for breeding tribalism, indicating a worrying trend that is likely to draw back gains made in national unity.

Ordinarily, the appointment of officials into these institutions must be done through checks and balances provided for by the Constitution promulgated in 2010.

Unfortunately this process has recently been guided by political innuendo informed by negative ethnicity rather than by objectivity.

The process of appointing the Moi University Vice Chancellor is one such case.

The first recruitment process for the VC was revoked by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i after it emerged that university council members leaked candidate results to local politicians.

This week, the second recruitment took a new twist after a council member at the university awarded 99 percent to one of the candidates.

WORRYING PATTERN

According to the results of the interview, Isabel Kogei awarded acting VC Laban Ayiro 41 per cent and gave Isaac Kosgei 99 per cent. Another council member, David Rono, awarded Prof Ayiro 45 percent and Prof Kosgei 92 per cent, while Hamisi Dena awarded Prof Kosgei 90 and Prof Ayiro 51.

Six candidates were interviewed for the position that has been vacant since September last year with Prof Kosgei being ranked the best with 76 per cent, followed by Prof Ayiro with 70 per cent tying with Prof Anne Nangulu.

The council’s decision irked Public Service Commission Margaret Kobia who stated: “Recruitment of VCs by university councils has assumed a worrying pattern where some council members are awarding scores that are outliers. One wonders if the panel members were measuring agreed competencies or had a predetermined candidate, compromising objectivity in the process.”

However, this is not the first case of its kind in the country.

MASSIVE IRREGULARITIES

In September 2014, the Consumer Federation of Kenya sued the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) over the appointment of Lucy Mbugua as the managing director.

The consumer lobby claimed that the appointment of Ms Mbugua was marred by massive irregularities and bias, and that even after they complained about her credibility to head the institution, KAA still went ahead to appoint her.

“Cofek received anonymous calls alleging irregularities in the recruitment of Ms Mbugua. We then wrote to KAA and the Transport Cabinet Secretary to investigate the claims and put on hold the appointment,” Cofek said through lawyer Henry Kurauka.

The Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) also known as Ombudsman had earlier waded into the issue, recommending the replacement of KAA director Joseph Irungu for his open bias favouring the appointment of Ms Mbugua as the MD.

RAISING SUSPICION

“The margin of award of marks by Mr Irungu between his best candidate Ms Lucy Mbugua (239) and his worst candidate Hudson Aluvanze (105) is the highest by 134. This is in our opinion is too big a margin raising suspicion.

“Further it is noted that the four candidates were awarded extremely low marks in an attempt to deliberately favour Ms Lucy Mbugua. It is noted that if Mr Joseph’s Irungu’s computation was to be removed, Ms Lucy Mbugua will move from 1st to 4th position, a clear indication of bias arising from Mr Irungu’s award of marks,” said the report by then CAJ chairman Otiende Amollo.

National Cohesion and Integration Commission commissioner (NCIC) Morris Dzoro agrees that indeed tribalism is entrenched in public institutions.

Mr Dzoro told Sunday Nation that unless the government fully enforces the Constitution, Kenya will find it difficult to extricate itself from its current quagmire.

“It has reached alarming levels. We have done outreach in universities, counties and parastatals to deal with these vices,” he said.

MINORITIES

Universities, parastatals and counties, Mr Dzoro singled out, have been circumventing the legal requirement that at least 30 per cent of workers in civil service should include the minorities.

Section 65 (a) of the County Governments Act, 2012, requires the County Public Service Board “To ensure that at least 30 percent of the vacant posts at entry level are filled by candidates who are not from the dominant ethnic community in the county.”

The NCIC Act, 2008, allows the commission to write a compliance notice to those counties who flout the rule, with the culprits expected to write back within 30 days with strategies of meeting the minority threshold.

The law allows the commission to sue those who fail to comply, but nobody has been taken to court since the counties were constituted in 2013.