USE BLOCKCHAIN TO ENHANCE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 5% OF PUBLIC POSITIONS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Following persistent public outcry on the high cost of electricity, President Kenyatta in addition to the Cabinet reshuffle that saw Amb. Monica Juma became the Energy CS, ordered an investigation that found out that the high cost of electricity was because of Independent Power Producers that were charging high cost of units sold to KPLC after which KPLC passed the cost to Kenyans. Since the names of the IPPs were kept secret, one of the recommendations was to disclose the names of the beneficiaries of the power purchasing agreements between the KPLC and the IPPs.

On 27th August 2010, Kenyans ushered in a new dispensation following the promulgation of the New Constitution. Under the New Constitution, it became a requirement to reserve 5% of all positions in public organizations to persons with disabilities, (PWDs). A decade later, the requirement has not been met, with the latest findings from the Ministry of Public Works Youth and Gender Affairs indicating that there were only 2.5% of PWDs in public service as of the 2020/2021 financial year. (The Standard Nov. 5. 2021). In addition, out of 7,415 promoted in the financial year under review, only 49 were PWDs, representing 0.75%. The Ministry of Public Works, Youth and Gender Affairs have largely been seen as ineffective in addressing the issue at hand. The only incentive to implement this directive is giving points to Ministries Departments and Agencies that seem to comply with the constitutional requirement. Talk of human resource heads greasing the palms of human resource auditors has been rife but there is no concrete proof of the vice happening anywhere. 

In 2015, then Nominated Senator Johnson Sakaja proposed a National Employment Authority that would be used to allocate more public jobs to persons under the age of 35. This would be done by creating a database which would have the details of the youth to match them with the opportunities available much like Riziki Source does. In 2017, there was a plan by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to have an electronic motor vehicle identification service where all vehicles would have an electronic sticker on the windscreen detachable by using a special gadget, thus helping to weed out unroadworthy vehicles on the road and recovery of a vehicle when stolen.  This is because the system proposed by NTSA would be running on a shared platform with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Police, promptly alerting security officers about a vehicle's insurance, and inspection status as well as ownership. (Business Daily Sept 17 2017). 

The shared platform is the blockchain system. Blockchain is a network of decentralized computers that share and store information between each other, thus making it difficult or impossible to cheat, hack or change the system since the information posted on the system is encrypted and must be verified by the computers on the network before it is posted. Should a computer on the system not verify the information, the information is rejected from the platform. Blockchain was built as a way to support and verify transactions done with the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. 

How about using blockchain to effectively implement the 5% requirement of public positions to PWDs, in addition to increasing digital literacy to PWDs and checking the progress of inclusion efforts on the part of Government institutions? The Government has been running digital literacy and digitization programmes through the Ministry of ICT and in learning institutions mostly colleges and universities and in community centres to spread access to ICT skills. The digitization programme in Government is aimed at easing the access to Government services and eliminating long queues and unnecessary paperwork in Government offices. To effectively implement the 5% provision for PWDs, the Government would upload the positions in the blockchain system then delegate the training and recruitment to organizations like Riziki Source since they have a well-managed and periodically reviewed database on the skilled PWDs available. It would also be an excellent way of cultivating good public and private partnership instead of letting the Government do everything which is costly and time consuming in addition to inefficiencies due to the scale of the project especially on the technological front. 

The advantage of this setting is that there is transparency in the system and trust within stakeholders in the public and disability sectors. It also provides real time progress feedback on the number of PWDs in the job market and other key performance indicators on the task of getting PWDs to public sector jobs. 

Lets make the propositions a reality.

 

By

Murithi Ndiritu