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Kenya: Tribalism rife in public universities

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

The Minister for Higher Education Prof Margaret Kamar has admitted that ethnicity is rife in public universities.

The minister concurred with the recently released report by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission which painted some institutions as “ethnic-run bodies”. This came as the Parliamentary Committee on Equal Opportunities said six ministries and State House have gone against the National Cohesion and Integration Act.

Kamar admitted that the audit report revealed that most employees in public universities and constituent colleges come from the communities living around the institutions. “The data provided by the institutions will go along way in informing policy interventions by the ministry to ensure we comply with the law,” she said.

She noted that some of the universities have complied with the Integration Act while others are striving to comply. “We value the audit undertaken by the NCIC as it has given us the insight to the prevailing position in our institutions,” Kamar said. The minister was speaking in Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha during a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss the NCIC report on ethnic diversity audit of public university.

Addressing the participants, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Equal Opportunities Mohammed Affey termed the situation as serious.The MP said the ministries of Higher Education, Local Government, Public Works, Transport and State House have gone against the Integration Act. He said the number staff in the ministries is skewed in favour of “bigtribes” . “The report is in parliament and we shall not recommend sacking but instead reorganisation within the ministries,”

The MP said Bondo, Meru and Kisii constituent colleges are the most affected by ethnicity. He praised the work been done by NCIC and promised to back the committees against bashing from politicians. The Chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Professor Francis Gichaga called for caution on the report so as not to interfere with the quality of education in public universities.

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