NSSF boss David Koross on the Spot of tribal Hiring

by Rofina Media
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The National Social Security Fund is the latest state corporation to be put on the spot over ethnic hiring.

Senators on Tuesday put NSSF chief executive officer David Koross to task over what they termed “perpetuation of the ethnic imbalance at the state corporation”.

This was after it emerged the fund has continued to hire staff from some dominant ethnic communities even though 17 tribes are not represented there.

“Some of the tribes in this country are just outsiders. They are only needed during elections, but they are nowhere in the public service,” Tharaka Nithi Senator Mwenda Gataya said.

Appearing before the Senate Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration Committee, Koross said Kalenjin, Kamba, Luo, Luhya and Kikuyu constitute 73.97 per cent of the workforce at NSSF.

The committee is inquiring into the ethnic and gender composition, and inclusion of people with disability in public service.

Earlier this month, the courts nullified the hiring of revenue service assistants by the Kenya Revenue Authority over ethnic imbalance.

High Court judge William Musyoka ruled that the exercise, which was conducted by KRA last year, was skewed in favour of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities to the disadvantage of others.

“A declaration that the June 2023 recruitment of the 1,406 revenue service assistants was unconstitutional, as it offends the preamble of the Constitution and the provisions of Articles 10, 27, 56 and 32 (g)(h)(i) of the Constitution,” the judge said.

In the documents presented by Koross, NSSF has 199 employees from the Kalenjin community, representing 18.24 per cent of the workers, with Kamba coming second with 191.

There are 146 Luos, representing 13.38 per cent of NSSF workforce. Luhyas and Kikuyus workers are 136 and 135, respectively, representing 12.47 per cent and 12.37 per cent.

Out of the 44 ethnic communities in the country, only 27 are represented at NSSF.

Of the 27, five–Bajun, Elmolo, Nubi, Samburu and Suba–each has one representative.

Despite the huge ethnic imbalance, the recent hiring done between December 29, 2023, and March 7, 2024, the corporation has continued to hire staff from the dominant communities.

Out of the 15 employees hired over the period, four are Kalenjin and two each from Kikuyu, Luo and Kisii communities. Turkana, Kamba, Embu and Kenyan Somalia have one person each.

“We hired four Kalenjins between December and March 7, that is last week, when we filed this report,” Koross told the committee.

The revelations triggered massive reactions with the committee members questioning NSSF’s continued hiring of staff from specific communities.
“It is a very sad state of affairs, that you take your child to school, they go to the university, then they fail to get a job in public service because they don’t know anyone there,” Gataya, whose Tharaka community is not represented at NSSF, said.

The legislator said some communities are being treated as voting tools but are sidelined when it comes to hiring in the public service.

“It is no longer a mentality, it is now a fact that if our person is not at the helm [of leadership], then you cannot get a job,” Gataya said.

Nominated Senator Betty Montet asked why the NSSF has continued to hire people from the dominant community despite data showing the huge ethnic imbalance.

“You found the mess there, we agree. But you have continued to do the same. You have hired more Kalenjins than others,” Montet said.

Koross told the committee NSSF has been struggling to get qualified staff, but the argument was dismissed.

“Yes, we need technical staff, but NSSF is not that technical that you cannot get someone from Kwale,” nominated Senator Raphael Chimera said.

The team directed Koross to bridge the ethnic gap in the ongoing recruitment of at least 300 staff.

In its latest compliance report, the Public Service Commission revealed that Kikuyu and Kalenjin are grossly overrepresented in government.

The two communities have held the presidency since Independence.

In the report, the committee indicted the offices of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and Cabinet secretaries for perpetuating imbalance through noncompetitive recruitment.

The PSC cited the recent hiring of 250 advisers and personal staff by advisers and personal staff by Gachagua and Cabinet secretaries.

The Anthony Muchiri-led commission said in the report-now tabled in Parliament-that political appointments further entrenched the disparities.

“The noncompetitive appointments seemed to have compounded the problem of overrepresentation of some communities, which are already overrepresented in the service,” the commission said.

At least 250 officers were appointed as personal staff in the Office of the Deputy President and advisers to Cabinet secretaries without competitive recruitment.

The commission said noncompetitive hiring is wrong and should only be allowed for marginalised groups.

“All public organisations need to comply with the requirement of fair competition and merit in making appointments, except in instances where underrepresentation is being addressed,” the report reads in part.

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