Kenyan youth: the unwanted generation Part II

You’ve probably read the last piece where I ranted on the way youth are treated like garbage in this part of sub-Saharan Africa. I had a discussion with a friend on the article (after it was published) and she pointed out that one important aspect of the discrimination against the youth had been left- the employment crisis. The lady gets a spot in the nominees for WCW.

About 70% of the Kenyan youth are unemployed. 70 freaking percent, after both the public and private sector have been taken into consideration, and the formal and informal sector included. And these statistics don’t take care of recent casualties like Evans Gikunda, the JKIA paedophile and the unlucky Orange guy, even though the first two got what they deserved. Basically, if you have 10 kids then 7 of them are going to depend on your retirement benefits. Annoying, isn’t it? I will tell you later why they can’t depend on the three who are gainfully employed. The government promised 500,000 jobs per year. The youth account for 60% of the Kenyan population. That’s roughly 24million. At the rate of 500k jobs per year, the rate of unemployment shouldn’t be above 48%. But the government thinks that oldies like Richard Leakey spending time with their great grandkids is too mainstream.

And that ‘career advice’ that they tell you to be aggressive in your job search. Apart from sending applications- both advertised and speculative, physically walking into offices and hoping they see the desperation in your face and give you a job, or carrying a placard like that accounting guy, how aggressive are we supposed to get? Kidnap a HR and demand that only a ransom of a job will set him free? Or walk into an office wielding a machete, tell an employee to choose between their job and life, then apply for the vacancy you just created? Look here career specialists, we are as aggressive as we are legally allowed. There are just limited opportunities out there. As simple as that. Somebody gonna miss out.

Remember I earlier told you that your 7 unemployed kids can’t depend on the three that are employed? And you are wondering why. It’s called underemployment. The three are getting paid peanuts, they are barely even able to meet their own needs. The government wants 30% of that pay. Then there are institutions whose sole purpose is to make you poor today for a prosperous tomorrow that never comes. Then there is HELB loans that won’t pay itself. Tich ka liech, chudo kwa apuoyo (French word for too much for too little pay). Kazi kwa vijana, pesa kwa wazee. With inflation and such, they will soon also be depending on your retirement package.

People be bitching about how the youth should embrace self-employment and entrepreneurship and crap. Where are they supposed to dig up the capital with HELB on their necks and banks wanting security on loans? Remember that your dad constantly reminds that your thigira is mud-walled so that demolition will be easier when he decides to end your tenancy. What security can a squatter have? We are assuming that you haven’t been blacklisted by CRB over that 50bob M-Shwari loan late repayment.

Besides, not everyone wants to be their own boss. Some find satisfaction in working with others and working for others. And not everyone can be their own boss anyway. Kila mtu hawezi kulia sinia moja (what! I do listen to Bobby Mapesa).

Art and talent have taken people out of poverty all over the world. But the Kenyan parent is still obsessed with high-end career courses. Engineering, surgeons, and crap. Tell your parents that you want to be a pencil artist, and they will spend their life savings on dumbas to undo the spell that was cast on you. When you finally convince them that you will be able to pay your bills as comfortably as the engineer, you meet the next stumbling block in the name of government. I mean, look at Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), the Ministry Of Sports and other such bodies. Scandal after scandal. A 19-year old athlete had to change her citizenship so that her talent could feed her impoverished family. How many of our footballers are indebted to Mama Mbogas’ because their clubs haven’t paid them in months?

Side note to the government: State house summits won’t solve our problems. Too much talk and little action. Stop embezzling youth funds. Stop demanding for bribes when we ask for jobs and tenders. Stop paying us our dues after delivering on the tender that we bribed to win. And FFS, involve us in decision-making on matters concerning us. You cannot shave a man’s head in his absence.

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