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The Government of Kenya is planning to start employing civil servants on a three-year-contract basis. The Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) strongly condemns and completely rejects this reactionary plan, and further calls upon all civil servants, all workers and all exploited and oppressed Kenyans to fiercely unite against it.

The CPK has information that this scheme is part of the harsh conditionalities in the loan agreement recently signed between the Government of Kenya and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The twin Bretton Woods institutions took advantage, like they always do, of a Kenya government that borrows too much and a Kenya government that makes exaggerated and unrealistic national budgets like the one that was presented this month by the Finance Cabinet Secretary, Mr Henry Rotich, to impose those structural adjustment policies in the agreement.

In other words, the JUBILEE and handshake government mismanages the national economy through rampant corruption, greed, incompetence and failed capitalist policies, then it shifts the blame and the burden to the Kenyan workers!

The government is lying to the country when it claims that the decision to employ civil servants on contract is to address the problem of the huge and stampeding wage bill. The capitalist business persons and their ideologues in power claim that employing civil servants on permanent and pensionable basis is the reason why the country lacks enough funds for development which in turn is forcing the government to keep on borrowing and compromising the freedom of the country to foreign interests.

The truth of the matter is that the civil service workers, the vast majority of who are paid very small wages, allowances, pensions and other benefits are NOT responsible for the high and escalating wage bill. The truth is that it is the top echelon of the government executive functionaries, the members of Parliament, the plethora of multiple constitutional commissions, the top brass of military and security personnel, the heads of parastatals etc, who are responsible for the large wage bill. They are paid - or they pay themselves - wages, allowances, pensions and benefits that are hundreds times more than that of the majority of civil service workers. 

Furthermore (and more importantly), the wages, allowances, pensions and any other benefits that the civil service workers receive are their rights, rights that they have won through their labour and through hard, bitter and protracted struggles. They are not privileges given to them by the government or employers so that can they be taken away from them whenever the government decides to.

Workers will not and must not accept their rights to permanent employment and pensions to be tampered with or snatched from them by those who have mismanaged, looted and destroyed the national economy and continue to do so just because they are in power today.

Allowing the government to employ civil servants on contract is a dress rehearsal for allowing the private sector not only to follow suit but also to abrogate the commitments it has reached with workers hitherto in the process of the history of industrial disputes and actions. It is a signal from the government that the capitalists are free to violate bargaining agreements reached between them and the workers at will. The capitalists will use this to justify their attempts to reverse the rights that the workers have won for themselves through class struggles. This is one of the reasons why Kenyan workers and the exploited and oppressed must unite to defend the right to permanent and pensionable employment, which is threatened.

The government knows very well that such a policy will have serious negative effects on the workers. The government also knows that that policy will threaten the job security for the workers and consequently increase corruption, cronyism and politically motivated renewal of contracts and termination of the same. This will result into inefficiency in the civil service, and poverty in the country. But does the government care? After all, the leaders of the government of Kenya are also business persons, capitalists to the core. In Kenya, the policies and laws that prohibit leaders from being involved in matters that lead to conflict of interests are respected more in the breach than in observance. We are reminded of one of the greatest heroes of the anticolonial struggle of India, Mangal Pandey, who warned that ‘if business leaders are also government leaders, the common man will always cry!’

Permanent and pensionable employment at least provides hope to the poorly remunerated Kenyan civil service workers. However small the pensions are, they are at least something to provide some hope after retirement. Denying workers the right to permanent and pensionable employment is denying them hope for the future and pushing them to premature deaths.

The issue that needs to be addressed should not be the rationalization of the civil service to cut jobs and the wage bill at the expense of workers rights. Rather, it is to employ, deploy and utilize the workers more efficiently and effectively to provide the necessary services, better their conditions of employment, rationalize salaries to avoid paying too much to the elite state and public officers at the expense of the majority of the ordinary workers.

If any section of Kenyans should be required to make sacrifices to reduce the wage bill then it must be the class of the ruling capitalist elites who earn too much, hoard too much and waste too much while escalating class inequality, robbing public property and mismanaging the economy through their incompetence, greed, waste and corruption.

Kenyan workers have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for the country and yet the ungrateful elites controlling political and economic power want to rob them of their right to permanent employment and pensions. The CPK joins trade unions, civil servant workers, the exploited and oppressed in saying NO! Enough is enough! Kenyan workers must keep their permanent jobs and pensions!! To hell with capitalism and imperialism and the structural adjustment programs!!

 

Mwandawiro Mghanga

National Chairperson

Communist Party of Kenya

June 20, 2019

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