“Regional Balancing” and the Bastardization of Kenya’s Constitution

There is no doubt that the Government is the single largest employer in this country and I am but one of the many faceless public servants behind the scenes doing my bit to help run this great nation of ours. Beyond being a public servant, I am a Kenyan and it is in this capacity that I stand on this here DR Soapbox to denounce a dangerous practice slowly institutionalising itself within the Public Service.

Two words: Regional balancing.

In its simplest form, regional balancing is about public officials and administrators making final decisions on the composition of government offices based on the ethnicity of prospective and current staff.

The relevant legal provision underpinning this practice is found under Article 232(1)(h) and (i)(iii) of the Constitution:

“The values and principles of public service include… representation of Kenya’s diverse communities and affording adequate and equal opportunities for appointment, training and advancement, at all levels of the public service, of the members of all ethnic groups.”

So on the face of it, one can clearly agree that regional balancing is important in that it allows for greater representation of people from various ethnic backgrounds in matters of exercising public power and decision-making. However, I believe that this notion is being distorted much like ethnicity is often used negatively by politicians to antagonise and divide the populace along tribal lines.

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