ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru on Tuesday told the youth to reject the wheelbarrow narrative being fronted by Deputy President William Ruto in his campaigns for the presidency.
The CS, for the second time in a month, accused the DP of promising the youth outdated solutions to modern economic challenges.
Mr Mucheru said Kenya’s youthful population has the power to make a difference and chart the future of the country and should therefore be wary of leaders propagating such analogue ideologies.
Dr Ruto has been attempting to lure the youth bloc with several initiatives, mainly targeting the informal sector, as he spreads his “hustler” narrative powered by wheelbarrows, carts, welding machines, sewing machines, water tanks and salon equipment.
“Do not believe those who tell you that your time will come at some ill-defined time in the distant future. Your time is now and today,” Mr Mucheru told young people during a visit to the Isiolo youth innovation centre.
The facility was established by the Kenya School of Government (KSG) in partnership with the county government.
Not a ‘hustler’
Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti said Dr Ruto should stop lying to Kenyans that he is a “hustler” whereas he owns several choppers and thousands of acres of land.
“Where will the wheelbarrow take you to?” Dr Kuti posed while voicing support for President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying they (leaders) will follow the political direction he will give them.
CS Mucheru said it was unfortunate that some leaders want the youth to slave every day and remain poor so that they can easily manipulate them for their selfish interests. He asked the youth to make the right decisions in the 2022 General Elections, saying they have numbers in their favour.
While asking young people to take advantage of online job opportunities, CS Mucheru said 1.2 million youth are working and earning income from the work, with the government hoping to raise the figure to 15 million by 2030.
He said his ministry is committed to enabling the youth to grow and realise their full potential through training, especially in the digital era, and appreciated the success of the KSG youth innovation centre in Isiolo which he said is one of the most active among the Ajira Digital training centres.
The youth centre helps equip youth with skills and knowledge in business, art, music and agribusiness and offers counselling services for drug addicts and survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Principal Secretary in the State Department of Youth Affairs Charles Sunkuli said the government will make 25 youth empowerment centres across the country operational and build six centres in the course of the year.
“We will come up with mechanisms for generating income for the centre's sustainability,” said Mr Sunkuli.
Tana River Governor Godhana Dhadho said the centre should be replicated to other counties as it will go a long way in providing jobs to youth across the country.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs for youth, women and persons living with disabilities and young people should seize the online job opportunities and acquire skills to start their businesses for economic empowerment,” Mr Dhadho said.
Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President Ruth Kagia said the Head of State is passionate about empowering young people so that they are productive and engaged.
“The government will continue creating opportunities for youth as direct jobs and learning platforms for self-reliance,” she said, exuding confidence that the Isiolo youth centre will help reduce unemployment among the youth.
Also in attendance was United Nations Resident Coordinator Stephens Jackson, his UNDP counterpart Walid Balawi and Council of Governors CEO Mary Mwiti who reiterated their commitment to supporting the youth realise their full potential.