The most common of unfulfilled pledges made by politicians every electoral cycle, when Kenyans are bombarded with manifestos from political parties, is creating employment for the youth.
As with all African countries, the majority of Kenya’s population is under 30. These are people who are eligible to vote and have grown up on ‘hustling’ and the unfulfilled promises.
One of the key issues raised in the numerous public debates, articles and political analyses on the state of the nation is the vacuum of ethical and moral accountability that make the bedrock of integrity and transformational leadership.
The right to property has been confused and defined as preserved for political leaders and their families and associates at the exclusion of other Kenyans. That is why some people are ready to kill innocent defenceless Kenyans than lose their positions.
Mandatory youth voluntary service after colleges and universities to work in rural healthcare facilities and learning institutions would be a means of instilling patriotic attitude and national character among the young people. It will also, hopefully, develop more ethical leadership and national character.
Secondly, we must realign our national presidential awards and recognition in order for Kenyans to appreciate and celebrate true public service patriots.
Let Kenyans celebrate genuine acts and deeds of patriotism and the worthy contributions that some of the people in public service make. It will be important to celebrate those who go beyond the call of duty, those who put in extra time and effort to ensure Kenyans are safer, wiser, healthier and held in dignity globally.
Finally, the government and other non-governmental agencies should initiate entrepreneurial education and training to equip the citizens with civic and economic empowerment instead of handouts given by politicians at funerals as always happens in the western region.
Instead of looking up to the government to provide employment opportunities for the millions of talented and intelligent young people, or waiting for investments by multinationals to absorb the many jobless graduates, which, given the number of layoffs globally is a bleak prospect, we could shift our mindsets from that of jobseekers to job creators.
Let’s use our new competency-based curriculum to develop non-graded courses for grades 10 and 11 learners. We should train the youth to identify and exploit opportunities around them.
Globally, the 5-7 work day plan is dying and is gradually being replaced by freelancing. Such a shift requires transitioning from just technically showing up and you get paid to value addition to other people’s lives, which then leads to one getting paid. Truly, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It does not have to be.
Equally, we need to train citizens to be self-supporting but also support them, hopefully reducing the unemployment rate.
Bishop (Rtd) Beneah Salalah, Mumias.