Security recruitment should not favour NYS

President William Ruto during the National Youth Service recruits passing out parade at NYS paramilitary Academy, Gillgil Nakuru County on December 08, 2023. [PCS]

A week ago, some 10,000 young men and women graduated from the National Youth Service (NYS) in Gilgil. It was another proud moment for the youths and the country at large. NYS prepares youths to serve the nation in different capacities. Besides paramilitary training, the youths later take courses in agriculture, engineering and computer studies, among others.

No wonder, due to its immense contribution in the building the nation, a lot of good things have been said about the NYS.

However, while not understating the role of NYS, we feel the institution's importance is being somewhat exaggerated. For instance, recently Public Service CS Moses Kuria said that all new government employees must go through NYS. He reasoned that that would help to curb corruption and laziness among public servants. Never mind that this organisation has in the past been associated with some of the worst cases of corruption in independent Kenya. What gives it the moral high ground now? Why is it different from our many other tertiary institutions?

Secondly, when he graced the NYS graduation ceremony last week, President William Ruto reiterated his government's decision to have 80 per cent of Kenya's security personnel recruited from NYS. While that is good news for the thousands of youths who have graduated from the institution, the truth of the matter is that it is bad news for millions of others who would wish to join the police, prison service or even the military who have not gone through NYS.

Such a decision is especially unfortunate at this time when the country is grappling with runaway unemployment. It smirks of discrimination against those who go to university, college or even finish Form Four and would wish to serve in our security agencies. Paramilitary training should not give an edge to NYS graduates over all other Kenyan youths when it comes to security personnel recruitment. In any case, NYS is not a training ground for security forces. Let allow all youths to compete on an equal footing when it comes to job opportunities. It's the right thing to do.