William Ruto and Francis Atwoli
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Youth unrest: Francis Atwoli tips President Ruto

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President William Ruto during a past meeting with Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli at State House, Nairobi.

Photo credit: File | PCS

Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Mr Francis Atwoli has raised concern over growing number of unemployment in the country.

In his statement, Mr Atwoli believes that the President has the chance of redeeming himself by implementing a work plan that will see hundreds of Kenyans being absorbed in different parastatals.

He says that the first President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta 1972, had issued a mandatory that all government parastatals and ministries should employ 10 percent of their total workforce.

“Kenya is currently facing an unemployment crisis, particularly among the youth, and, therefore, the revival of the 10 percent employment mandate would provide immediate job opportunities and reduce the number of jobless citizens,” Mr Atwoli said.

Cotu boss says that the recent anti-Finance Bill protests that rocked the country and brought businesses to a standstill were largely fuelled by the high number of unemployment.

“During the recently concluded International Labour Day celebrations, COTU (K) formally requested President Ruto to consider reinstating this policy with the understanding that such an initiative is crucial in addressing the ongoing challenges of high unemployment rates, which have been a significant factor in the current demonstrations across Kenya.”

He added that the 1972 visionary policy significantly alleviated unemployment and contributed to economic stability, which should also be considered by the Kenya Kwanza administration.

As Gen Z took to the streets, the President has been left scratching his head on how to move forward and court the youth who have expressed their disenchantment with Ruto's government by paralysing businesses, resulting in the destruction of property worth billions of shillings.

According to Mr Atwoli, the move will foster economic stability and growth which have a resultant effect on political stability of the country.

“It is the view of Cotu that, among the many actions to be taken by the President of Kenya, the provision of employment opportunities through this initiative would help mitigate the ongoing demonstrations and promote social cohesion.”

Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) recently stated that the unemployment rate among the youth in the country stands at 67 percent, and that about one million young people enter into the labour market every year.

While the government of President Ruto had promised to prioritise the employment of youth in different sectors, the youth who recently protested claimed that they have not felt the impact since Ruto’s administration took power in 2022.