Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and the 22 Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) in Kenya Kwanza government appointed 250 personal staff during the financial year ending June 2023, contributing to the trend of public officials dishing jobs without fair competition.
According to a recent report from the Public Service Commission (PSC), these 250 individuals were hired either as personal staff or advisors as Deputy President Gachagua and the CSs settled into their roles following the 2022 general elections.
The recruitment process was non-competitive, meaning the 250 recruits were handpicked rather than selected through a fair and open process where vacancies are publicly advertised and qualified candidates invited to apply based on merit.
“The reasons given for the non-competitive appointments included the appointment of personal staff for the Deputy President and advisors to Cabinet Secretaries, which are typically not competitive and therefore should not be classified as non-competitive appointments,” stated the PSC.
The Constitution mandates that all appointments and promotions in the public service be based on fair competition and merit, with exceptions only for cases where there is under-representation of certain demographics relative to the national population size, as outlined in Section 10 of the Values and Principles Act, 2015.
During this period, the Commission also revealed that 47 state entities hired a total of 1,443 employees through non-competitive means.
The PSC did however not provide a breakdown of the number of staff specifically recruited for Deputy President Gachagua’s office versus those hired by the 22 cabinet secretaries who took office on October 27, 2022.
The period of non-competitive hiring also coincided with the disclosure by the PSC that State House had 483 employees on payroll who were not included in the staff register, a discrepancy that could potentially allow for unauthorized staff recruitment.
The non-competitively recruited officers represented 27 ethnic groups, with Kalenjin, Kikuyu, and Luo individuals comprising the highest percentages of the total jobs at 21.8%, 19%, and 12.4%, respectively, according to the PSC.