High Court nullifies KRA's hiring of 1,406 revenue service assistants

KRA officers

Kenya Revenue Authority officers at Kamukunji grounds in Nakuru City on June 1, 2023.

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

The taxman has suffered a blow in its staffing plans after the High Court in Nairobi ruled that its recent recruitment of 1,406 revenue service assistants was unconstitutional.

Justice William Musyoka made the ruling on Monday after finding that a big percentage of the advertised slots were allocated to two communities in violation of the law on diversity, inclusion, and regional balance.

Judge Musyoka ruled that the exercise, which was conducted by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in 2023, was heavily skewed in favour of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities to the disadvantage of others.

The judge said being a public body, KRA should afford adequate and equal opportunities for appointment, training and advancement to members of all ethnic groups, and persons with disability, at all levels.

Justice Musyoka further said the explanation by KRA that the two communities got more slots because of a high number of applications came from Kikuyus and Kalenjins was not supported by statistics.

According to the judge, it would have been more plausible to suggest that the authority went for the most competent and academically qualified applicants from the Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities.

“A declaration that the June 2023 recruitment of the 1,406 revenue service assistants was unconstitutional, as it offends the preamble to the constitution and the provisions of Articles 10,27, 56 and 32 (g)(h)(i) of the Constitution,” said the judges.

The judge said going by the 2019 population census, the Kikuyus constitute 18 percent of the total Kenyan population, while Kalenjin were at 14 percent.

Combined, the judge added, the two communities would be entitled 32 percent on an even sharing of the total number of slots available for employment.

“Going by those statistics, the 56 percent allotted to the two communities appears to be grotesquely disproportionate to what was the due share to them,” added the judge.

Justice William Musyoka further barred the KRA from recruiting and appointing staff at all levels until a policy on ethnic diversity and regional balance is put in place.

The policy, the judge said, should be in place within 30 days from the date of the judgment.

“Without clear policy guidelines on these matters, the Kenya Revenue Authority is likely to engage in another recruitment with similar results, something which would entrench a staff establishment heavily skewed in favour of some communities to the disadvantage of other communities,” said the judge.