A number of government parastatals are exploiting Kenyans in a slavery-like job contracting involving thousands, according to several sources that have provided Kurunzi News with incontrovertible evidence of exploitation.
Kenya Seed and National Housing Corporation lead a host of dozens of government agencies that hire Kenyans on dubious contracts and end up exploiting them, with highly-trained professionals being treated as casual labourers.
Under the arrangement, thousands of jobless Kenyans are lured into accepting to work for the parastatals on contracts whose terms are undefined.
“I was told that I would be on contract for a short period of time and then I would be taken on permanent terms but all that turned out to be a lie,” a victim of this illegal scheme told Kurunzi News on condition of anonymity.
“After I started working is when I realized I was more of a casual labourer than a professional because I was told there would be no pay if I don’t report to work because my salary was calculated based on the number of days I show up at work.”
Kurunzi News understands that most of those working on these illegal terms are remunerated at a daily rate of between KSh500 and KSh1,000 per day, with no right to annual leave. These class of workers in government have no allowances and no medical cover.
“We don’t even have NHIF or NSSF or anything to do with any statutory deductions or contributions,” reveals our source.
At Kenya Seed, for instance, these casuals comprise highly-qualified individuals who are assigned major tasks but they are never allowed to even get per diems whenver they are out on official duty, instead a permanently-employed staffer would be paid the allowances with the expectation and hope that they would “share” the proceeds with the “casuals”.
“If for instance there’s a working trip out of station, someone else will be given the trip and then we (the casuals) would be made part of the team traveling but we are not given any money,” another source tells Kurunzi News.
“Someone will be paid our money and we will be then directed to be at their mercy. It is very demeaning and painful, especially because the people treating us this way do not have the qualifications and we are the ones who do most of the work, only for them to take credit.
“It really hurts and you wake up every day feeling like quitting but the way there are no jobs out there we just have to persevere but it is painful.”
Our tea can reveal that most of these casuals are hired with the promise of being absorbed permanently into the public service but they end up being subjected to periodic renewals of one-page “contracts” every few months to one year and some of them have worked under the same arrangement for years.
This work arrangement by parastatals defies all the constitutional and statutory requirements that stipulate that an employee would be hired on contract for a period not exceeding six months and are only subject to a single extension. To the extent that these workers have no right to leave, among other labour provisions, including the right to join a union.
“We have no voice because we are not even allowed to join any union because to be a member of a union you must either be a permanent employee or have a legal contract which we don’t have so we have no way of defending our rights,” avers another source that works with the NHC.
Kurunzi News can reveal that, some of these government entities have no formal way of paying these workers, NHC being the latest of those that have now directed them to give their MPESA numbers so that they get paid through mobile money transfer.
“We were told to give our MPESA numbers so that they can send us money and we are wondering why because we have been receiving the peanuts through our bank accounts,” explains the source.
The million-dollar question is why and how the money would be paid through MPESA.
Kurunzi News has established that almost all government parastatals “employ” Kenyans under this arrangement, a situation that is a serious indictment of the government which is supposed to protect the rights of Kenyan workers by implementing all the labour laws if it is to demand the same from the private sector.
“The same government that is supposed to be the envy of every worker is exploiting its own citizens. It is the reason why private companies mistreat Kenyans on a daily basis because the government is doing worse.”
Kurunzi News invites you to share information about this exploitation scheme that is hurting Kenyans and leaving majority job-seekers desperate in the hands of the same government that is supposed to protect their labour rights. The information will be treated as confidential and the identity of the source will not be revealed to anyone as protected by the law. Reach us through the various media platforms or use the email email@example.com or send via the WhatsApp number +254 735 223554.