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Youth congress 'disappointed' with Uhuru over State jobs

Thursday October 17 2019

Moody Awori, Esther Murugi, Francis Muthaura, and Mary Wambui.

Moody Awori, Esther Murugi, Francis Muthaura, and Mary Wambui. They are among those who were handed government jobs after retiring. PHOTOS | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ANITA CHEPKOECH
By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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The National Youth Congress has accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of betrayal over his habitual appointment of retirees to plum posts, some touching on youth affairs.

Meanwhile, thousands of eligible young professionals continue to languish in unemployment.

The congress said the Jubilee administration has been "riding on power on our bended backs" yet they, as the party's "friend", have been sidelined and the old guard favoured.

"BAD SIGNAL"

The latest of such State appointments was that of 69-year-old former Othaya MP Mary Wambui who will chair the National Employment Authority for the next three years.

The newly created agency is responsible for, among others, helping the youth to find paid internships in government institutions and other sectors as they seek employment individually or through the authority.

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Some youths believe people in Ms Wambui’s age bracket are not best-suited to handle that demanding job.

“The recent appointments, just as those made in previous governments, left out the youth and are therefore very disappointing,” the congress said in an open letter to the President dated October 15.

“The appointments continue to send a bad signal to the youth.”

EQUALITY

Raphael Obonyo, the convener of the congress, noted the existence of many young people with qualifications impressive enough for them to serve in government.

Mr Obonyo also pointed out that citizens aged 18 to 34 make up about 30 per cent of the country’s population.

He wondered why youths are locked out of decision-making and denied critical roles in shaping policy and management of public affairs.

“The government should reserve a percentage of all appointments, including the positions of principal secretaries and heads of departments, for qualified youths with the capacity and passion to serve our country,” read the letter.

“The youth are no longer spectators but players. They must be part of the public service. Equality is important.”

'REWARDS'

Since taking over as President in 2013, President Kenyatta and his government have been favouring the old guard in appointments.

He has been criticised for 'rewarding' his cronies and election losers and returning favours.

Some of the appointments that have sparked criticism from the public include that of former Vice President Moody Awori, 92, to chair the Sports, Art and Social Development Fund.

Former Cabinet minister Noah Wekesa, 83, is the chairman of the Strategic Food Reserve Fund while former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, 72, is the chair of the Kenya Revenue Authority.