In the past few weeks, the nation has watched with disgust, helplessness, and hopelessness as some civil servants and corporate leaders tell the Kenyan jobless youth to create their own employment.
Some civil servants, like the Cabinet Secretary for Youth and Gender, have had the audacity to say that young people should stop being lazy and create their own jobs.
The irony is, some of these individuals, including Ezekiel Mutua, the CEO of Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), are employed and have never been self-employed in all their lives.
They know that if they resigned from their position (as employees), they would not be able to run a single simple business in Kenya and make a living.
The hypocrisy of those calling unemployed youth lazy and telling them to create jobs stinks to the high heavens and should be condemned and reality is made known to them.
Our so-called leaders seem to be living in their own imaginary world where free jobs for young people flourishes.
It reminds me of the French Revolution. In one of the most famous quotes in history, when Marie Antoinette, the bride to France’s King Louis XVI, in 1789, was told that her subject had no bread because of the cost of living, she sniffed and said, “if they cannot afford bread, let them eat cake.” These are our Kenyan leaders today.
The same people who are telling the young unemployed youth to create their own jobs are the same people who are looted the past, looting the present and the future of this country.
According to Kenya’s Auditor General Edward Ouko, a whopping 3.5 billion shillings meant for Uwezo Fund, a fund that is supposed to help Kenyans among them the youth, disappeared in the pockets of few individuals.
You may or may not have heard of the Youth Fund and what became of it. Angry and hungry hyenas were appointed to head the fund, they looted the funds meant for the youth to the ground.
The unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 43.5 percent. This is the truth that the government doesn’t want Kenyans to know.
Through the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, they insist the unemployment rate is still below 12.5 percent.
The employment absorption rate in this country is less than 2 percent. This indicates that for every 100 Kenyans that are graduating from institutions of higher learning, only two lucky ones are likely to get employed.
The Jubilee government, that has been in power for 7 years now, promised that it would create more than 300,000 jobs for Kenyans annually. The promise remained a campaign slogan and died as soon as they were elected.
During the year, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) had the courage to come up with a report that indicated that more than 800,000 jobs had been created in the year 2018 alone.
Kenyans protested. Statehouse took credit for the jobs when it was evident that there was no single job that had been created. They are still running around like indotyphlops braminus trying to show the jobs they created.
The SME Sector
Those telling young to start a business, while themselves depend on employment, should be ashamed.
The cost of doing business in Kenya is so unfriendly to the youth that the majority of them cannot even start thinking of it.
The SME sector in Kenya is the largest employer. It employs 86 percent of Kenyans and contributes 45 percent to the country’s GDP.
Despite its importance to the economy, the government has raided it with numerous taxes. Each day, stats from KNBS show that 1,000 SMEs are closing down in Kenya.
In Nairobi, for instance, with 300,000 shillings, you cannot be able to set up a meaningful business entity. Rent and taxes will just eat up the 300,000 shillings and you will be left without any stock.
Hiring of Interns
Sometimes last month, there was an announcement that the government was reviewing the Employment Act and Social Assistance Act and that the process had begun.
The idea behind this is to mitigate our youth and the unemployed against the tough economic era. One of the key considerations is to create a system where graduates and diploma holders will be absorbed as interns entitled to a monthly stipend of 25,000 shillings. Another related item in the raft of changes is to accord unemployed a monthly hardship allowance of 3,000 shillings.
This is just a kneejerk reaction that will not solve anything.