One tribe accounts for 47pc of KU hospital jobs – Business Daily

Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRRH). FILE PHOTO | NMG
Nearly half of the employees of the Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) are from one ethnic community in breach of a legal requirement for diversity in the sharing of jobs in public service institutions.
A report of the Auditor-General tabled in Parliament says 285 of the hospital’s 608 employees are from one community, representing 46 percent 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.
“This is contrary to section 7(1) and (2) of the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008 which states that all offices shall seek to represent the diversity of the people of Kenya in the employment of staff and that no public institution shall have more than one-third of its staff establishment from the same community,” Nancy Gathungu, the Auditor-General, said.
She said the management sought to explain that the imbalance was triggered by rushed hiring when the hospital was declared a National Covid-19 Treatment and Isolation Centre.
The hospital reckons it 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 KUTRRH operations.
“Consequently, management is in breach of the law,” Ms Gathungu said in a report on the hospital’s books of accounts for the year to June 2020.
The audit findings reflect the struggles by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to ensure that offices funded by taxpayers have a face of Kenya, with all communities given an opportunity to serve.
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.
According to the PSC’s diversity policy, all public service institutions will now be required to prepare measures to correct the ethnic imbalance.
Under the diversity policy for State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), ethnic groups whose job representation surpass their corresponding national population proportion are considered to be overrepresented.
The diversity policy was expected to tackle the problem of overrepresentation by setting hiring quotas for ethnic groups and disadvantaged classes such as the disabled.
Ms Gathungu has also raised concern over failure by the KUTRRH board to recruit a substantive chief executive officer (CEO).
Ms Gathungu said the hospital, despite being categorised as a Level 6 hospital has operated without a substantive CEO since July 1, 2019.
She said information provided indicates that the board placed an advert on February 4, 2020, inviting applications for the position, which closed on February 21, 2020.
A committee constituted by the PSC submitted names of candidates that were to be invited for interview on August 10, 2020.
“However, no interviews had been conducted by the time of audit in April 2021 and the position remained vacant. In the circumstances, I am unable to confirm the effectiveness of day-to-day management of the hospital,” Ms Gathungu said.
Documents tabled in Parliament also exposed silent wars pitting the hospital board against the Kenyatta University (KU) management for control of the multi-billion shilling facility.
The Treasury has revealed the State forcibly took over the referral hospital from the university and made it an independent State agency after it defaulted on a Sh10 billion Chinese loan.
This implies the government will use revenue from the referral hospital to offset part of the loan owed to China’s Exim Bank and ease the burden on taxpayers.
The revelation by the Treasury came weeks after Parliament directed the referral hospital be returned to Kenyatta University.
Under the loan deal, the university was offered the 20-year debt that had a grace period of seven years, and the first semi-annual repayment was due on September 21, 2018, with completion set for March 21, 2031.
President Uhuru Kenyatta —who had signed the loan on behalf of KU when he was Finance minister in June 2011— gazetted the hospital as a parastatal under the Ministry of Health on January 25, 2019.
This effectively severed the relationship between it and the university.
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By Kwetu Buzz

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