Employment is the state where a person has a job that earns him a set amount of pay or remuneration, whether monthly, weekly, depending on the job. The logical opposite is unemployment, which is the state when a person doesn’t have any job, despite his or her desire to have one. It is a fact that none of the Counties of the former Western Province of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia Vihiga and the neighboring Trans Nzoia have any clear blueprint strategy since the onset of devolution in 2013 on how to surmount the greatest challenge of the 21st century across the whole globe, which is how to combat unemployment.
We live in an age where more of those in their productive, energetic years, the youth, find themselves without jobs. The elected leaders of the region from Senators, Members of Parliament, Governors, Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) continue to treat unemployment as the business of the national government, specifically the executive. What a misconception, what a tragedy.
West Media thinks that the unemployment scourge is a problem meant to be handled by the whole region but more importantly, for those we elect to positions of leadership based on the existing budgetary resources from the national budget and locally generated revenue, to design clear cut strategies to conquer the scourge of unemployment.
Our Governors, MCAs, MPs, Senators, our elected leaders hold annual conferences on the state of devolution, travel to external countries for so called benchmarking trips and are all over in Mombasa, Naivasha, Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret in all manner of seminars, training and conferences, name it but they can’t hold an annual conference for strategy sessions, workshops to tackle, search for solutions to the unemployment epidemic undermining the youths of the regions right to decent work, unemployment, self improvement by engaging in dignified work that brings them returns to enjoy a dignified life.
How have we as a region, engaged, utilized the two public universities of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) and Kibabii University to dissect the unique unemployment challenges of the region and how they may be surmounted.
What is unemployment as understood by the region? What is the rate of unemployment? What must we do as a region to conquer the cancer of unemployment? How are we by the way we manage our resources promoting unemployment rather than overcoming it. How have other nations in the world tackled the unemployment challenge?
The unemployment time bomb is a mirror of how mediocre we are at managing and governing ourselves. The youth must not wait until the election year to raise their voices on the unemployment issue. They must raise it every day, 365 days from one election to another. They must compose, songs, poems, stories, on the unemployment monster so that those elected to manage public resources and public servants put the unemployment question as the first of the national issues next to health and education.
The challenge of unemployment must be addressed now not on the eve of the 2022 General Elections. Every year young people are being added to the pool of those require employment and without putting that quest from as a number one priority, we are courting a social meltdown, disaster as a people of the region and the Nation at large. We must tackle unemployment and stop pretending it is not a problem. It is the greatest threat to our stability as a region.