Resolve impasse on PSC interns postings

Thursday, October 17th, 2019 00:46 |
Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet secretary Margaret Kobia on GBV cases.
Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet secretary Margaret Kobia. PD/FILE
Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet secretary Margaret Kobia. PD/FILE

The unfolding standoff between the Public Service Commission (PSC), parastatals and other State agencies that is threatening to scuttle a noble initiative meant to impart skills and hands-on experience to graduates is unfortunate.

And the upshot of the embarrassing turn of events is that some 3,600 graduates, who were posted by the PSC barely a week ago, have been turned away by the receiving agencies. Reason? The internship slots had already been taken up. 

This development is shocking, but not entirely unexpected in a country where shortcuts, dishonesty and fraud are common, especially where there is a whiff of money. 

Could it be those trying to short-circuit the programme have their eyes on the Sh1 billion set aside for the paid internship? Hopefully not.

Naturally,  the standoff will be mired in blame game and obscure the facts on the missteps—or deliberate scheming—that led to the stalemate about one of the ruling Jubilee Party’s re-election pledges in the 2017 campaigns.

Already, some of the receiving agencies accuse the commission of sidelining them in the planning and implementation of the programme. 

This speaks volumes on the breakdown of communication within the government in the execution of programmes. 

There are troubling questions on the roll-out of the internship: Was there a needs assessment in the respective agencies to determine the number of slots available, placement and skill sets required? What was the selection criteria to ensure fairness?  

PSC needs to  come clear on these to reassure an increasingly cynical public and graduates that the hyped training at the Kenya School of Government and subsequent posting was not a mere public relations exercise.

Public Service Cabinet secretary Margaret Kobia should also convene heads of relevant agencies meeting to  resolve the stalemate. Any mischief must be nipped in the bud and its schemers punished.

This programme is too important to be allowed to go the way the National Youth Service and others — which were supposed to improve the lot of many young people and spur economic growth — went. 

Its success will be a test case for government’s commitment to transparency and accountability in the conduct of public affairs.

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