Written by Joseph Amunya Otieno
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Activities at a road’s construction company awarded the contract to renovate Eldoret - Webuye highway were paralyzed on Monday after hundreds of youth drawn from Matete, Likuyani ,Lugari and Uasin Gishu districts blocked the entrance to the company's yard protesting the discriminatory employment process.
The close to 1000 youth braved the hot sunrays and went without lunch as they blocked the gate ensuring that no activity went on within and without the company premises at Mwamba trading center along the busy Eldoret- Webuye highway in Lugari district.
The youth who have been reporting at the Maltauro Roads construction company offices since the month of September last year with a view to being employed lamented that the management was discriminating against local youth and instead hiring foreigners to carry out casual duties.
They claimed that over 200 youths from Narok had been hired by the company while they were kept on empty promises.
It took several hours of concerted efforts by administrators from Kakamega County and their counterparts from Uasin Gishu to contain the youth.
Efforts to get comments from the company’s site manager Diego Rossi were futile as he was reported to be away on official duties while the Public Relations Officer David Ndolo declined to neither speak to reporters nor even address the protesting youths.
A similar demonstration was witnessed in the month of April this year where the youths also protested the company’s decision of engaging strangers at the expense of locals where they blocked the highway using rocks and logs grounding traffic operations between the busy towns and forcing commuters to take alternative transport means like bicycles and motor cycles.[Read: Angry youth block activities along the Eldoret - Webuye highway http://westfm.co.ke/mobile/index.php?page=news&id=2157]
It then took intervention from Lugari county council chair David Amaswache and a team of councilors to the scene and addressed the youth who later agreed to disperse.
However, despite Mr. Amaswache warning that as leaders they will not allow companies operating in the area to hire foreigners at the expense of the local youth the trend has remained the same forcing the youth to stage another demonstration protesting over the same.
During the April protest the then public relation officer Mr. Tom Amunga who was later shown the door revealed that non locals who had been hired were professionals who could not be sourced locally.
Though after being pressed further by the councilors Mr. Amunga revealed that majority of the non-locals employed at the site especially those from Narok were brought in by the Lugari district officer Lawrence Ngare who forced him to employ them adding that he had no option than to vow to the pressure from the provincial administration in the area.
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