British Council launches inquiry after Kenyan staff allege racism

British Council focuses on cultural relations and educational opportunities.

Kenyans expose racism at British Council

Seven black current and former staff members of the British Council in Kenya have raised allegations of systemic racism against the organisation.

Senior white executives at the organisation have been accused of discriminating against black Kenyan-born staff, causing them to be unfairly targeted for redundancy.

A letter that claims to represent seven current and former staff members sparked the inquiry in July when it was sent to the British Council as well as the Kenyan authorities.

“The cases underline a repeated practice by white members of staff to constantly assign Kenyans as underperformers, inadequate, unskilled, unprofessional, and suspects as the organisation abuses its procedures and systems to validate its discriminative practice,” it read in part.

According the UK newspaper, The Guardian, five of the seven accusers claim they were discriminated against during a redundancy process that they say favoured white colleagues.

A former programme manager at the Nairobi office said black people were not valued to an extent their opinions did not matter at all in comparison to whites.

“Many former and current employees believe that there is a racist culture in the organisation which goes back many years. White people’s opinions are given more weight than black people from Kenya,” Apollo Edewa told the Guardian.

A British Council spokesperson said that they received the letter in July and launched an inquiry in August but were still waiting for all of the complainants to identify themselves.

“On receiving the anonymous letter, we immediately initiated an investigation. This investigation is ongoing, and we are keeping avenues of engagement open with the author of the letter.

The author of the letter has not been willing to be interviewed and has not yet provided evidence in support of the allegations,” the spokesperson said.

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