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Justina Wamae: I was jobless for years, doing unpaid internships

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 Justina Wamae [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Justina Wamae this week revealed that she struggled to nail down employment after she graduated from university.

Speaking to Standard Entertainment, Justina, who was George Wajackoyah’s presidential running mate in the August elections, said things did not go as she envisioned after completing her degree.

Having attained a Bachelor of Commerce in Management Information Systems (MIS), with a minor in Procurement and Logistics, she got a temporary job at the British Council as an invigilator and used the money for her master's at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and graduated in 2013.

After that, she hit the road and tarmacked for years to find a job, doing unpaid internships. She even tried to do a show on crime in Kenya. “It didn’t work out. In fact, I see it on my YouTube channel and laugh,” she says.

“So we can go to YouTube and watch it right now?” I ask, and she says yes, it’s on her eponymous channel, Justina Wamae.

“I also did a pilot for a show called Out There. It was a series. It never sold,” she says.

“That was when I sat back and asked myself, ‘I’m not doing anything wrong. It’s just that the opportunities are not presenting themselves.’ That is what I felt being unemployed. I used to have this vision that once I graduate, I’ll move out of home, I’ll buy a car, you know? Then after the first graduation at Daystar, it was now four years later and I had not gotten a job – that was so depressing. I can resonate with what graduates feel. That period really shaped my life to what I am today.”

Wamae remembers watching Cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries being interviewed in 2013 when she was in her unemployment phase and it sparked something in her.

“When someone was asked a question, I would say, ‘If it were me, I would say this.’ So I started gaining a lot of interest. But what eventually drove me to politics was when I realised that the policies that were being sponsored in Parliament were not responsive to the youth or even Kenyans. And I felt that if I went there I would research on policies and bills so that we could have impact through them," she says.

In 2017, she ran for MP of Mavoko Constituency, which she says is when she learnt not to force anything in life.

“I was really pushing for the Jubilee ticket, and the more I pushed, the more it escaped me. I felt that because I had done Warembo na Uhuru, now running for Mavoko and I had paid the party fees, Jubilee should at least have given it to me.

"And then the direct ticket was given to Kalembe Ndile. No nominations, nothing. So I learned when you want something, pray about it, but let God do his work,” she says.

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