Plight of youth points to bleak future

What you need to know:

  • While the youth continued to languish in poverty and getting frustrated in endless job search, government employment opportunities were somehow available to senior citizens.
  • Everywhere you look you are met with the hopelessness of the youth.
  • The face of the Kenyan youth today is a young population on the edge.
  • This is a worrying trend as it portrays the future of Kenya as bleak.

A few days ago, I went through a post on one of my Facebook friend’s timeline, where she had pieced together recent photos from the front page of one of the dailies, showing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent appointments of senior citizens into public service positions.

Beside it were three other old photos of the president doing the dab with a group of young men who had visited him at the State House.

Her point was that while the youth continued to languish in poverty and getting frustrated in endless job search, government employment opportunities were somehow available to senior citizens.


Whether those positions ought to have been given to the youth, and if indeed that could have reduced the youth unemployment margins is a story for another day, but it is a fact that the youth of this country are in dire need of economic empowerment.

And you do not need a complicated and comprehensive research to comprehend the truth of this matter – it’s all over our faces, isn’t it?

In Nairobi, there is this group of young people all over the city who beg to brush your shoes. Those who cannot secure a tiny corner within the central business district look elsewhere. You probably have seen them in Gikomba market with buckets of dirty water and sponges, targeting people coming from the muddy alleys of the market. Their hope is to get at least Sh20 for every pair of shoe they clean.

As you walk towards Moi Avenue at any time of the day, you won’t help but notice tens of young Kenyans, mostly men, standing outside buildings, trying to persuade women to pop in for a nail treat.

And as the sun begins to set, just take a stroll towards Tom Mboya Street and will meet street vendors, also young people, occupying different spots of building alleys with mobile food carts, selling sausages, smokies, samosas and boiled eggs.

While at it, you have to be careful not to get hit by young men crossing from all directions with customised metal carts, trying to get a client, probably alighting from a matatu and perhaps needs help with the luggage.


Just in the same area, there is this group of noisy young men calling out for prospective passengers into matatus at a tiny fee.

And as you try to board the bus or matatu, you ought to be on the lookout for people who won’t hesitate to get their hands into your pockets or handbag for any valuable.

After catching the matatu, you quickly notice this group of young men at the entrance. They are not thieves but are young men trying to get something out of that machine at the end of the day.

You are advised not to use your phone while on the road, especially within town because you won’t know what hit you when the lords of the streets will have slid open that window and snatched that phone from your hand in pure magic style.

Still when you get to your neighbourhood, there are these young women who sit on stones at different corners, hoping that someone calls and asks for washing and general cleaning services.

This is the face of the Kenyan youth – a young people on the edge.

King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan once said that ''The incentive that you give to your youth is going to be the make-or-break future of the country.'' With this trend, and if King Abdulla’s words are anything to go by, then it is most certain that the future of Kenya is bleak.
The author is a correspondent with Taifa Leo Newspaper, Nation Media Group