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Frustrations of the youth and need for change

UREPORT
By Abdul Mohamed | February 11th 2017
This being an election year brings a new set of uncertainties. For those unfamiliar with my anxiety in relation to this year’s general election is that in many ways the run-up to it reflects the run-up to the 2007 elections.

The 2007 election is a painful memory in the minds of many Kenyans, more so the family of the over 1,000 killed and 600,000 displaced persons.

It was a time when we were no longer one cohesive unit but a patchwork of ethnically and politically affiliated groupings.
 The youths have a lot of frustrations pent up, the following are just some of the frustrations we have.

Unemployment
There are a number of things to be worried about, the high rate of unemployment coupled with the intense layoffs that Companies have been undertaking in the past few months. "How can I, be excited about joining the job market when so many are being shown the door?" a practicing advocate.

2017 elections

As indicated earlier, this is an election year and the memories of the 2007/8 post-election violence is still fresh. It was a time when a neighbour turned against a neighbour and a friend turned against a friend.

Many believe that is where the rain started to beat us, and as a country, things went downhill.

The economy started deteriorating, tourists stayed away, low exports, high debt and an expanding wage bill thanks to the large coalition government.

My plea to the youth who form the large section of the population is not to be used by malicious people to fight.

Corruption

Now, this is a hot button issue. I believe we are all aware that corruption exists, it’s ills and the need to have real commitment to fight corruption.

First of all, I am alive to the fact that corruption exists in virtually all countries. The question is the degree.In Kenya, corruption is a huge problem.

We used to paint certain public offices as corrupt but now this disease has spread to the private sector as well.

Theft of public coffers

As John Githingo once said, and I paraphrase, when someone in public offices steals money meant for the public, it is not corruption but simply ‘theft’.This statement is very true.

I think for many people corruption is a fancy term and makes them feel unaffected, however, if you inform them that it is their money being stolen then they feel the need to react.

Public theft has always been a problem in Kenya. What is worrying is the fact that every political party campaigning vows to end corruption and public theft only for them to be implicated in corrupt dealings after the elections.

Huge borrowing and resultant debt

The increase in public borrowing has seen the debt burden on each Kenyan almost double in the past five years from Sh34,116 in 2013 to Sh58,859 in 2017. What is even more worrying is that the debt is growing faster than the economy.

As it stands each Kenyan has a debt burden of almost 60,000. To put this in perspective, at least half of the Kenyan population live below the poverty line. Placing a burden like this on someone who makes less than a dollar a day is cruel and burdensome.

Some may claim that the debt is a necessity of development. That without borrowing, we would not be able to construct the SGR rail and other Vision 2030 projects (some of which have stalled).
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