× Digital News Videos Health & Science Opinion Education Columnists Lifestyle Cartoons Moi Cabinets Kibaki Cabinets Arts & Culture Gender Podcasts E-Paper Tributes Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS

Youth in State jobs, good for development

By Stephen Ndegwa | January 20th 2020

Kenyans have just witnessed another round in the game of musical chairs. This is the reshuffling of the Cabinet that included the sacking of one of the Mt Kenya region political lights Mwangi Kiunjuri from the agriculture ministry. Following the sacking of Kiunjuri, all manner of conspiracy theories have been discussed on social media, and splashed on the headlines of some sections of the Press.

One newspaper even had the audacity to suggest that Kiunjuri is the running mate of Deputy President William Ruto. Analysts note that there was more dust than light from the exercise. In my view also, nothing will change. We wait to see, for instance, how Kiunjuri’s replacement, Peter Munya, will improve the livelihoods of farmers in Mt Kenya region, who have almostdespaired from the destruction of their cash crops and dairy industry, which comprise their economic mainstay.

Moreover, wasn’t Munya the Minister for Trade when imported goods worth millions belonging to small and medium enterprises were con?scated for months for allegedly being counterfeits, and for tax evasion? As the saying goes, same forest, different monkeys. Still, there is a cloud in the silver lining.

This is the appointment of several young people in the new line up. Apparently, the cries of the youth from previous appointments of people deemed as retirees were loud enough. Indeed, the role of the youth in engaging with both policy and decision-makers cannot be gainsaid. In this increasingly unpredictable socio-economic and political environment, young people are seen as the future – the embodiment of prosperity, peace, harmony, and progress.

Their inclusion in government acts an opportunity for them to exchange views and experiences, and make recommendations on alleviating their plight. Everywhere, the youth are faced with common challenges like spiralling unemployment, terrorism, corruption, climate change, poor governance, and violence. Sadly, most of these problems are created and perpetuated by the older generation who have perennially held power. Those in power do not seem to care for progeny, and have left the youth to inherit to clean up the mess after them. The youth are very insecure, and angry. That is why, for instance, Mt Kenya

region is faced with spiralling drug abuse, and suicide. What do we think would happen when thousands of university graduates cannot get employment, and have to resort to doing menial jobs like the ‘failures’ they left behind? The youth are also under intense pressure to conform to a predetermined image that they had no role in making. It faces them daily in the media, and perpetuated by peers and role models. That is why they feel their parents’ generation does not understand them. They are frustrated, and many are ?nding it impossible to cope. On 10th September, 2019 we marked the World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide has now been cited as the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year-olds globally, which comprises the core of our youth. In Kenya, and most of Africa, the youth have been largely misused as cannon fodder during political contests. They are usually the main combatants during violent confrontations. After the crisis is over, they get the least dividends for their sacri?ce. Moreover, many of those who ascend to privileged positions hardly add any value to the plight of their contemporaries. There are few visionary youth leaders in power, in the calibre of the late Kibra MP Ken Ouko. Those in power must now stop betrayal and neglect of the youth, even as the latter must also show a sense of direction and purpose. When one comes of age, it is expected that he or she will take responsibility for their actions.

For starters, the youth must refuse to be misused by politicians, and other leaders, for sel?sh purposes. Exploiting their desperation for sel?sh means is one of the highest forms of social injustice meted out to young people. The youth cannot have their cake, and eat it at the same time. Rather than allowing themselves to be reduced to goons and beggars, they must demand accountability for the resources entrusted to their leaders. The new inclusion of several young people in government should enable all of us to start the process of soul searching. Being the majority age group, the power to change this country is within their purview.   

— The writer is an author, communication specialist, and public policy analyst. [email protected]

Share this story
Hong Kong protest models become major hit
Stacked on shelves next to comic book superheroes, the models come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some holding make-shift shields and flags
Opening Ceremony: Kenya takes her pride of place as 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games begin
Team Kenya Paralympics strolled majestically into the Tokyo Olympic Stadium led by captain Rodgers Kiprop and Powerlifter Hellen Wawira for the Openin