In his article in the June 22nd pullout of the Daily Nation on the effects of unemployment is having on the Kenyan youths. Mr. Esmond Shahonya, an ICT Specialist, insists that young people with little access to jobs and whose grievances are not addressed are more likely to be lured into terrorist activities and other social vices. The writer referred to recent analysis by the Kenya Youth Survey Report which found unemployment the highest among youth without post-secondary education (68%) and rural youth (68%) very unfortunate!!
This made me come to the conclusion that Kenyan youths are victims of circumstances. They get involved in various occurrences from the series of unfortunate events taking place in our country, and explore the validity of my assertion.
Kenyan youths are in crisis. They suffer a lot. They lack basic freedoms and are at the mercy of whimsical decisions by their leaders. Disadvantaged youths and the current high rate of youth unemployment ought to be Kenya’s most urgent priority. But sadly, this is not the case. Employment is a vital part of any youth’s personal development. It allows financial independence, builds up self esteem and confidence, and evokes that feeling of self worth. And the reveres of this brings negative outcome which is mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Larger population of talented Kenyan youths languish in abject poverty and hopelessness because the number of scholarships being offered is limited, thus most of them opt for elementary education. This has discouraged higher participation in leadership.
What is more, Kenya’s youths are held to higher standards than the older folks and they are expected to do more to prove themselves.
Moreover, by and large, the one huge factor that has discouraged higher participation of Kenya’s youth in leadership is lower levels of education capacity gaps in the form of resources and contacts and discriminatory laws. They are considerably under-represented in the decision making positions.
Furthermore, junior citizens in Kenya have fewer rights than the senior ones in almost all spheres of life, thus denying them personal growth necessary for their well-being and empowerment.
The planned amendment to the Elections Act 2011 to raise the educational eligibility bar for the candidates in the next general election automatically locks out young political aspirants from vying for elective posts such as senatorial, county reps and MPs which currently only requires a post secondary school qualification which can either be a certificate or a Diploma recognized in Kenya.
Fascism and elitism are features of chaotic governments. The highly educated elites in Kenya are out to disenfranchise youthful Kenyans by embracing the notion, `you can vote but you can’t vie,’ doctrine based on academic qualifications. The undertaking is counterproductive and against the spirit of the Kenyan constitution which proclaims inclusiveness, non-discrimination, democracy and the protection of the marginalized.
The Kenyan government should be responsible for the opportunities it provides to the junior citizens and must ensure every Kenyan youth is given the chance to live a worthy life that is rich in opportunity. But what should worry even much more is the creeping eliticism and fascism in Kenya’s election legislation that is undermining Kenya’s democratic process by denying Kenyan youth opportunity to leadership and reserving elective seats for select elite.
Kenya is among the developing countries in the world, with the youthful demographic being the most affected.
Social patriarchy has taken root in Kenya. Youthful Kenyans are locked out from applying for powerful positions in the executive and the judiciary. One good example of social patriarchy was evident in the recruitment for the country’s next Chief Justice. One of the requirements for an applicant was that he/she should be 40 years and above, and have atleast 15 years experience in law. This automatically disqualified ambitious young lawyers in their 30’s and 20’s from applying for the lucrative and powerful position. Not because they are incapable but because of the strongly entrenched social patriarchy.
Kenyan youths are being marginalized to the extent of being sidelined from participating in mainstream politics. As a result, the youths are left as spectators and poorly paid servants working as gardeners, night guards, revenue collectors and worst of it all, being lobbied to take part in political protests and demonstrations.