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Spare job applicants the punishing red tape

The plethora of State agencies that one must navigate to secure a job just boggles the mind. I often peruse the papers looking for jobs for when I finally return home.

Yesterday, I saw a job advert in MyGov, the National government newspaper supplement, which demanded applicants submit a Certificate of Good Conduct, Clearance from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission on Integrity for Public Servants, Certificate of Compliances from the Higher Education Loans Board and Kenya Revenue Authority Tax Compliance Clearance.

It is difficult enough for somebody with a postgraduate degree like me to figure this out, how do you expect a Form Four graduate to navigate this bureaucratic hellhole? Another advert proudly declared that “persons from marginalised areas are encouraged to apply”. Really? How can they be capable?

By the way, most of the jobs requiring these credentials are from State agencies, especially the national government. Why can’t the HR department for these agencies liaise directly with the relevant agencies?

The requisite certificates just serve to increase the barriers of entry for the youth, women and the poor. Some of the forms necessitate making the long trip to the capital city, especially when a file disappears.

At the very least, have a centralised database where people applying for these jobs don’t have to tarmac from building to building. E-citizen is a step in the right direction, but it needs to be further expanded. I might complain here, but I am actually privileged in that I can figure out which buildings to go.

I know where Nyayo House and CID headquarters are. If I am lost, I know who to call and ask for the instructions. Last time I checked, applicants are supposed to cough up a healthy amount of cash.

To show that I am of good conduct the boys and girls from Kiganjo require that I cough up Sh1,050. Helb requires a bank slip of Sh1,000 (this despite the fact, I was never a beneficiary). Contrast that with other countries. In my time here in the United States, I have never had to pay money to apply for a job.

And yes, those jobs have conducted criminal background checks. They have also required lab work be conducted to determine drug abuse.

They have even conducted credit checks. In all that time the amount of cash, I have been asked to forfeit when applying for a job has been in the amount of exactly zero dollars.

All I had to do was send in my academic certificates, my resume and a writing sample. Kazi kwisha. What happened to the good old days when applying for a job, all that one needed were academic credentials, kitambulisho and CV? Now we must pay the piper.

It’s time Parliament intervened by passing laws that shift the burden of producing these certificates. The burden should be on the employer not job applicant. —The writer is a management fellow at the City of Wichita, USA —@janeksunga

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