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Why youth are unhappy with Mary Wambui's new job

Tuesday October 15 2019

unemployment

Young people on November 23, 2015 participate in the launch of Skills Mtaani Programme, which seeks to end unemployment. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NERIMA WAKO-OJIWA
By NERIMA WAKO-OJIWA
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The ageism that exists in this country is glaring before us.

At functions, government officials advise young people to create their own employment, while they have been civil servants longer than they have been married to a spouse.

Starting any business venture has never been in their life achievements.

They continually sing mantras about the need for the youth to find solutions to their problems, being proactive and expectant of nothing.

This country doesn’t owe young people any favours. Heard them all.

The recent appointment of Mary Wambui to lead the Kenya National Employment Authority, a department that is to reduce the youth unemployment crisis, is an outrage.

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I thought I had seen it all when Moody Awori was appointed to the Sports Fund board; it was difficult to swallow the bitter pill that a 91-year-old in this country has a job while a 21-year-old lives in constant worry of getting a job.

THE CRISIS

Kenya is burning, it is on fire, and instead of hiring a firefighter, we have appointed a cheerleader.

Appointments are not rewards for cronies and political elite and if we continue in that direction, we will plummet to a grinding halt.

Our government does not understand the dire situation our country is in, it is in a crisis.

Many young people are educated and below the age of 35 years and jobless!

Just because you know some young people, does not mean you understand them.

This is not just about appointing someone young, but someone who understands the sector, and the target that one is dealing with. Mary Wambui has neither.

It is like the excuse that white racist individuals accused of violence against African-Americans always utilise: “I have black friends”.

Just because you had children, and you were once a young person, decades ago, does not mean that you would understand those in that stage now.

Youth is the only sector that those with no qualifications can be thrown into.

You would never ask a mechanic to operate on a patient, the same way you would never ask a bus driver to fly a plane.

But when it comes to youth, we have all sorts of experts with no background or experience working in the youth sector, no form of formal education when it comes to qualifications. Professionalisation of youth work is now a global conversation and young people in Africa will be the majority for years to come.

Yet we have a minority that cannot relate with the majority, and the issues and circumstances they are undergoing and leading them to oblivion.

RECYCLING

Why do we continue to behave as though this country has no leaders? People that have been in politics in the 2000’s, must they return?

We are more than 40 million people. We recycle leaders better than we recycle plastic.

When it came to the president’s campaign and how it was centred around young people, the reality is not even close to the fancy promises made on a well-lit stage while they wore fancy varsity jackets to identify with young people.

The youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity, how is this country expecting to build while the youth are not trusted or supported with even the slightest intention?

Nerima Wako-Ojiwa is Executive Director, Siasa Place. Twitter: @NerimaW

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