It is amazing how very few Kenyans are able to see the ticking time bomb that is in the country today. Even now when it is before our very eyes in increased violence and unexplainable crime wave levels.
One of the things that the Moi administration did was to dramatically increase the number of university graduates the country churns out every year. This is both a good thing and also a very bad thing. A good thing in that Kenya is now reaping dividends in massive foreign exchange inflows from professionals working abroad. In fact repatriated cash from Kenyans working in virtually every country of the world you can think of is the highest foreign exchange earner currently.
It is a bad thing in that a lot of these highly educated young people are jobless and frustrated. The most dangerous thing for Kenya is the fact that we have too many people who are frustrated and have nothing to lose. That is one of the reasons why the Mungiki terror gang continues to recruit in large numbers.
There is nothing more dangerous than having millions of people who go around mostly hungry and have no idea where their next meal is going to come from. These are extremely dangerous masses to have because they really have nothing to lose.
This is why the next government must pay very close attention to this problem and come up with creative solutions as a matter of urgency. As it is now, none of the presidential candidates has come up with any viable ideas of dealing with this problem.
One of the laughable things about the whole lot of them is that they believe that by attracting big industry foreign investors, Kenya will be able to deal with its' unemployment crisis. This is typical 70s thinking and it worked then. But trying to apply the same solution today is a big joke.
In those heady days of the 70s factories were pretty labor intensive and PCs and automated assembly lines had not really arrived on the scene. But times have changed. It is actually very difficult and extremely rare today to get a factory anywhere today that will use a labor force that numbers as many as 500 persons (just do your research). However for argument sakes let us assume that we can attract foreign investors in large numbers to Kenya who can set up industries that will create 1,000 jobs each. Let us go overboard in optimism and assume that we can attract 100 of these every year (virtually impossible when we are competing with countries with better infrastructure and other advantages over us). That would create 100,000 new jobs every year. Is that the kind of number that would even make a dent on the unemployment problem in Kenya?
Of course not!
Let us wake up to how huge this problem is. It can be solved by thinking outside the box and having a government that recognizes the fact that having unemployment as the top priority is not an option but the only way to go. Obviously I have my own ideas which I believe can work well and get a large percentage of the frustrated voiceless masses of Kenya working and many in the political class are reading this and hoping to "steal" some of the better ideas for their campaigns and so called visions. So this is not the time for me to talk about them.
However one thing I would like to say is that re-electing the current government would be a disaster because its' policies leans heavily on attracting foreign investors to create jobs. Just one question I want to ask. Why should any genuine foreign investor find Kenya attractive when the local investors do not and are mostly struggling?
The Safaricoms are the exceptions because Kenyans are desperately making calls around looking for answers. The Kenya Breweries are also hugely successful because there are many who would not otherwise be able to remain sane with the kind of unprecedented challenges that they face.
Let me leave you with a clue as to where the answers to this nagging problem lies. Small businesses today—including micro businesses are recognized as the number one creator of jobs in the world. Clue number two: another answer lies in a resource which we have plenty of—the vast tracts of idle and mostly fertile land that we have in the country today.
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The photographs Kumekucha feared to publish.
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Are you a Kenyan? Do You love your country? Join in this noble campaign to change things. Do something instead of just complaining.