NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association now wants the youth to be at the core of the Building Bridges Initiative, saying the plan may not work out if young people are excluded.
The Association’s Chairperson Senator Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) said the youth of this country “cannot wait any longer to be leaders of tomorrow.”
He called on the National Government to address the issue of youth unemployment in order to bolster the impact of the BBI.
“Privately, we raise these issues with the leadership but young people getting these jobs should not depend on my relationship with anyone; it is their right, not a favour; every generation in this country has a role to play including young people so how come when it comes to parastatal jobs young people are nowhere to feature?” he wondered.
“As we work on this Building Bridges, we should know that inclusion of young people is part of the problem that we have had; the reason why it is very easy to get young people to go on the streets is because they feel disenfranchised and disengaged so there can never be cohesion without youth inclusion.”
At the same time, Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga said they support the president’s proposal to have a bill that would bar civil servants from doing business adding that such opportunities should be left for the unemployed young people.
“Leave at least business to the young people because if you are public officer, you are employed and you are still doing business with other institutions then there is no time we will ever secure jobs for our youth who are majority I think over 70 per cent are unemployed,” Omanga said.
On his part, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro warned against the embezzlement of monies set aside for the youth.
In the 11th Parliament, Sakaja, then Nominated Member of the National Assembly sponsored the National Employment Authority Act which gave effect to Article 55(c) and 56(b) of the Constitution by providing a legal framework for the State to take affirmative measures to ensure the youth and marginalized groups access employment and economic empowerment.
It establishes an Authority that will assume the functions of the National Employment Bureau whose mandate is to maintain a database for all jobless youth to facilitate their employment.
When introducing the Bill, Sakaja said his efforts will demand that hiring authorities like the Public Service Commission first refer to the database before advertising for jobs through the media.
Those aged above 35 will only be considered if the skills and qualifications required are not available in the youth database which will house details of job seekers like the county of origin and ethnicity.
“The government shall take affirmative action measures and actions designed to promote the employment of the youth in management and other levels of employment regardless of their years of experience,” notes the law which provides that the State offers undisclosed incentives to private institutions that employ the youth within six months of completing their studies.”
Despite Sakaja’s Bill being signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta in April 2016, the relevant ministry is yet to implement it.
In March last year, a survey conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) showed that seven million Kenyans are unemployed and out of these, 1.4 million were desperately looking for employment.