Nearly half of the employees of the Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital are from one ethnic community. This is a breach of a legal requirement for diversity, a report from the Auditor-General tabled in Parliament says 285 of the hospital’s 608 employees are from one community, representing 46 per cent of the jobs. The dominance of the undisclosed tribe is in breach of the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008, which bars a single community from occupying more than a third of employment positions in State-owned firms.
The hospital was required to quickly recruit, train and deploy staff to the treatment and isolation areas, making it difficult to balance the ethnic distribution of staff during the initial years of Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital’s operations. The imbalance was also triggered by rushed hiring when the hospital was declared a National Covid-19 Treatment and Isolation Centre.
The audit report still found the management is in breach of the law. These findings reflect the struggles of the Public Service Commission (PSC) to ensure that offices funded by taxpayers have the face of Kenya, with all communities allowed to serve. There is the worry that Parliament could compel the hospital to offer preference to other communities when vacancies arise.
The 2010 Constitution introduced the ethnic diversity rule to check a historical trend where the tribesmen of those in power were favoured during recruitment and to promote national cohesion in the wake of the ethnic fuelled post-election violence of 2007 and 2008.