MPs summon Kiambu, Kilifi over 70pc locals hiring bills

Newly elected National Assembly Cohesion and Equal Opportunity Committee chairman Maina Kamanda. FILE PHOTO | JEff Angote
Newly elected National Assembly Cohesion and Equal Opportunity Committee chairman Maina Kamanda. FILE PHOTO | JEff Angote 

Parliament has summoned two counties over controversial bills that seek to restrict 70 per cent of all employment in public entities and private enterprises to local communities.

The National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity Committee said the Bills passed by Kiambu and Kilifi counties are “unconstitutional and untenable.”

“Under my stewardship, this committee will not allow counties to pass unconstitutional and divisive laws,” nominated MP Maina Kamanda said shortly after being elected unopposed to chair the committee.

Mr Kamanda directed his committee secretariat to immediately write to Kiambu and Kilifi counties to appear before Parliament the first week of January to explain why they were pushing for the bills that are contrary to the Constitution and National Cohesion and Integration Act.

Mr Kamanda said the committee will sponsor a Bill that will also go to the Senate to gag any other governor from enacting divisive laws.

“We have so many Kenyans working in America and Europe, UK and United Arab Emirates and they are accepted. Then you hear people in their own country being gagged that they can’t work in some place,” said Mr Kamanda.

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chairman Francis ole Kaparo has declared the commission will move to court to challenge the controversial bills.
He said the bills are discriminative.

Kiambu last week passed Kiambu County Employment Bill 2017, which compels companies operating in its boundaries to employee 70 per cent of the dorminant local community.

It hinged on the controversial Bill on Article 65 (1) (e) of the County Government Act that require the dominant ethnic community in a county to benefit from 70 per cent of the available job positions.

But this is a reverse interpretation of the law.

The section demands that at least 30 per cent of jobs are filled by candidates outside the dominant ethnic community in a county.

Shortly after the approval of the controversial bill, governor Ferdinand Waititu announced that all factories, estates and public institutions will be required to adhere to the law to help create jobs.

He said the proposed law will serve to absorb at least 50 per cent of unemployed people in Kiambu.

Mr Waititu said the law will apply even to public institutions like Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenyatta University and Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology.

Kilfi County followed suit and approved a motion that set aside 70 per cent of all public and private jobs to locals.