‘Tonje rules’ can create jobs

Tea picking

Workers pick tea at a plantation Kericho County. Though highly experienced, the ageing workforce should pass down their valuable skills and exit.

Photo credit: FiIe Nation Media Group

Kenya’s future is hinged on the youth. They must, therefore, be empowered for their future political and economic roles in shaping the nation’s destiny by giving them access to the local labour market. But we want to delay the older people’s pensions and keep them working long after they have outlived their usefulness.

No wonder, some public servants who were in the Moi regime transitioned to the Kibaki and then Kenyatta governments are in the Ruto administration! Yet for thousands of youth, all they do is go dropping CVs at offices and “Email me your CV” in vain.

A proper pension plan would entice and keep the quinquagenarians, sexagenarians and possibly septuagenarians out of formal employment contracts. Voluntary retirement age was pushed from 50 to 55 years and the mandatory one from 55 to 60.

An ageing workforce is a burden to the nation. Though highly experienced, they should pass down their valuable skills and exit. Gen (Rtd) Daudi Tonje realised that if a soldier or officer stagnates in one rank for a long time, they’re likely to leave.

So, as Chief of General Staff in 1996-2001, he came up with the acclaimed “Tonje Rules”, which revolutionalised human resource management in the military.

Such visionary rules should govern the civil service if we are to end the unemployment crisis. Life does not end because one has left service early. Instead, that could open other hitherto unknown opportunities that may be even more rewarding.

- Mr Kamau is an author and former HR practitioner. [email protected].