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Half a million jobs at stake over corona virus, says Uhuru

By Fredrick Obura | May 1st 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past function (PHOTO: PSCU)

NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya could lose over half a million jobs in the next six months if enough measures are not put in place to flatten corona virus curve in the country, president Uhuru Kenyatta has warned.

Since first case was reported in the country in March, many measures have been in place some of which has seen workers in the informal sector, self-employed and casual labourers lose their daily earnings.

“Businesses have closed down abruptly, working hours have reduced and opportunities have been lost.  Sadly, result is job losses for our people; and I feel the loss. We must do whatever it takes to minimize, if not to fully contain such loss in jobs,” the president said.

To flatten the curve of joblessness, Uhuru said Kenyans must embrace the Kenyan imperfections by buying what is manufactured locally.

He also called on Kenyans to take all their holidays in Kenya for the next one year and visit local hotels and parks, and every corner of the country to rescue the tourism industry.

The president indicated that he would in the coming weeks give out practical directions on post-Covid-19 pandemic social economic recovery strategy.

“I want to assure the workers that I have their back.  And I will do everything to protect them from the economic downturn and the political opportunists who feed their ambitions on the misery of workers.”

Talking points from president on saving jobs

  • We must commune with our people and find ourselves in this undertaking.  Let us spend our money amongst our own people so that they, in turn, can get to keep their jobs and feed their families.
  • To save jobs in our manufacturing sector, we must shed some of our long held prejudices against Kenyan made products and embrace them. Let us buy what we make, whether it is cooking oil, soap, sufurias, spoons, bicycles, furniture or locally assembled cars.
  • If we buy Kenya, we will build Kenya. And Kenya is each and every one of  us.  This must form the baseline of our survival strategy.
  • Let us also support our textile sector.  We now know that a face mask from Kitui is just as good as or better than that from any other part of the world. If we can buy these face masks for our protection, why not other items of clothing?
  • But there is another item I want to mention here.  I want to encourage our employers who insist on formal wear by their employees to ensure that those dress codes also include our own African attire.
  • Let us be proud to wear our made-in-Kenya shirts and dresses.  This will extend employment opportunities for thousands and encourage more of our farmers to plant cotton and invest in inputs for other fabrics, like wool, which we can easily produce locally.
  • To those in our transport sector, the measures you have taken so far on hygiene and discipline should not be forgotten when Corona is behind us.  Let your buses and matatus be clean, treat your passengers with the respect that they deserve, charge them fairly, and, above all, keep them safe.
  • And to our media houses and entertainment spots, it is time to become Kenyan.
  • To survive in this pandemic, we must look inwards.  We must protect what makes Kenya Kenyan.  And as media dominates our living rooms and mobile phones, I appeal to them to think only of our country.  Play Kenyan history, Kenyan music, Kenyan soap operas, Kenyan news and Kenyan everything.
  • If media plays Kenyan content, Kenyan content will build media after Corona.  We have a peculiar opportunity to promote our film makers, and artists during this time of confinement.  Let us use it to create a Kenyan culture of nationalism.



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