By The Weekly Vision Team
The Board Chairman of the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Commissioner General of KRA have jointly been sued by Mr Peter Kabinga Orogo at the Busia High Court over skewed employment of staff.
In the notice, Mr Orogo asked the judge to stop the proposed recruitment of KRA staff until there was justification for the previous recruitment, which he alleges failed to meet the constitutional threshold of ethnic diversity and regional balance. He further prayed that failure to grant the orders would open doors for recruitment along similar lines. His submissions are dated November 17, 2023, and filed herein on November 20, 2023.
The concern is that the recruitment of the 1,406 was skewed in favour of two ethnic communities against the rest of the communities and regions in Kenya, and it is alleged that that violated or contravened constitutional provisions, and there is fear expressed that the projected recruitment of the 800 is likely to go the same way
Mr. Osoro claimed in an affidavit that the KRA board and the Commissioner General are not deploying an ethnic diversity and regional balance policy. He cited that it is a serious legal and constitutional step to suspend the operations of statutes and statutory provisions. The gist of the case is the recruitment of staff for the Kenya Revenue Authority. There are two recruitments in contention. One has been conducted, and the other is proposed.
In the exercise that has been completed, some 1,406 revenue service assistants were recruited. For the second round of recruitment, advertisements are said to be out for 600 graduate trainees and 200 border control assistants, plus several more senior positions.
The concern is that the recruitment of the 1,406 was skewed in favour of two ethnic communities against the rest of the communities and regions in Kenya, and it is alleged that that violated or contravened constitutional provisions, and there is fear expressed that the projected recruitment of the 800 is likely to go the same way.
Statistics have shown that out of the 1,406 recruited, 788 came from just 2 communities, representing 56.8% of the total, with the rest, 618, or 43.2%, being shared out amongst the rest of the communities and regions. Interestingly, the response filed by the chairman of the board of directors did not deny the figures or challenge the statistics but stated that the 2 communities that took 56.8% of the positions had presented the highest number of applications, and recruitment focused on high performance.
The bottom line, therefore, is that the recruitment was not balanced, as the documents filed appear to suggest. According to a ruling by Judge W. Musyoka on December 20, 2023, at the High Court in Busia, “The argument is that the recruitment that has already been done was unconstitutional, for it did not take into account ethnic diversity and regional balance, allowing the recruitment of another 800 individuals.”.
However, KRA, in a quick rejoinder, claimed that, in the public interest, the grant of the orders would hamper the collection of taxes. But the judge noted that the orders, as prayed for, do not affect the 1,406 who have been recruited and do not target the staff of the Kenya Revenue Authority who are already in office.
The judge further noted, “There would be no disruption of revenue collection, therefore, for there would be no interference with the staff already in place. The conservatory order sought targets the proposed recruitment of more staff. The order can only delay recruitment.”.
The judge further noted that “a delay, for a short while, of the recruitment in order to get an account and audit would be in the public interest, as the court process is geared to considering whether or not the Constitution of Kenya 2010 is being adhered to.”.
The final order reads, “I am persuaded, from the material on record, that a prima facie case has been established for grant of the conservatory order sought, in prayer 3 of the Motion, dated October 12, 2023.”.