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CITY GIRL: Young and jobless? Welcome to the nightmare of being a Kenyan youth

By CITY GIRL February 24th, 2017 3 min read

Had John Kariuki known that NTV would be paying him a visit at his usual hang-out at Uhuru Park grounds, he would have tried to clean up.

Problem was, cleaning up for a TV interview was the least of Kariuki’s problems. Oh okay, let me start from the top.

For my readers who don’t know who Kariuki is, I will give you some background. Kariuki is a young man who made the news the other day. At first glance, you may think that Kariuki is just another dirty bhang-head roaming the streets, but looks can be deceiving.

Kariuki, an extremely eloquent young man with an impressive command of English, has been desperately looking for a job since he graduated in 2013, without any success. In spite of scoring an A minus and proceeding to Kenyatta University to pursue a degree in bio technology, Kariuki resorted to doing menial jobs because for every door he knocked, he was told, “hakuna kazi”.

You see, Kariuki is the typical Kenyan youth. Very educated, capable, full of talent, but without a job or opportunity.

We are living in a country where the people entrusted with youth matters have absolutely no idea what they are doing in office.

We are living in a country where, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund is known more for its scandals than what it could do for the many jobless youth in this country.


We are living in an age where, for you to get a job, one of the following two things has to happen: either you know someone or you get extremely lucky to find a job.

The youth of this country are a doomed lot. No matter how you look at it, we are the single most disadvantaged group in the country. It doesn’t matter if you score an A or a D, what truly matters is whom you know to get that job.

This is a country that rewards mediocrity, where the educated and talented go to waste, but the connected sail through life without any hurdles.

World Bank statistics show that Kenya is the country with the highest unemployment rate in the region. This is truly a government that does not take care of its youth. In fact, the unemployment rate in Kenya is so high that it is three times that of Uganda and Tanzania.

A Kenyan youth is three times more likely to get a job in Uganda and Tanzania than they are likely to get employment in Kenya.

One in every five Kenyan youths has no job – doesn’t matter if you have a degree or not, you are doomed to be a youth in Kenya. Economic growth my foot!


Who is in charge of the youth docket in this country? And what exactly is their job? Why is it that Kenya, the economic giant of the region, has the highest number of unemployed youth?

In last year’s budget, Uwezo Fund, which is supposed to provide youth and women with loans, was awarded Sh1.6 billion. How many young people and women can come forward and tell us that they are beneficiaries of all these government monies?

The Access to Government Procurement Opportunities has been marketed by the government as tool to help young people access 30 per cent allocation of all government procurement opportunities.

The problem is, this government is so corrupt, most of its institutions are giving young people and women tenders without paying them because they know the truth; Kenya’s youth are helpless and there is nowhere we can take them if they don’t pay the work done.

The leadership of the youth docket in this country has been reduced to cheap PR stunts of the Cabinet Secretary taking pictures pushing wheelbarrows and inviting a jobless Kariuki to her office. I am sorry ma’am, but kneejerk emotional tweets never solved the problems of a jobless youth.

Dear youth of Kenya, this government does not give a hoot about you. Good thing I said this before the elections.

If the politicians offer you money, by all means, take it. Eat their money. But when it comes to the ballot, please, let us vote for people who think beyond PR when it comes to sorting out this mess. Remember, we are on our own.