Kenya's Elderly Squeeze Youth Out of Jobs - KNBS Report

  • People advertising their expertise in the streets in the hope of getting clients.
    People advertising their expertise in the streets in the hope of getting clients.
    Citizen Digital
  • The Labour Force Report Quarter 1 2020, published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that Kenya's elderly enjoy the lion's share when it comes to employment.

    On the other hand, citizens aged between 20-24 are the most underemployed in the country in the first quarter of 2020 as well as the last quarter of 2019.

    "The youth aged 20-24 had the highest proportion of the unemployed at 12.5%. They also had the highest rate of long-term unemployment at 4.8%," the report revealed.

    On the contrary, those aged between 55 – 59 years had the least unemployment rate of 0.3%. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (Right) and Former Vice President Moody Awori pictured at a past function.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (Right) and Former Vice President Moody Awori pictured at a past function.

    According to the 2019 National census 4,447,674 Kenyans fall under the 20-24 age bracket, while 1,118,094 fall under the 50-59 age bracket.

    The youth of Kenya, who form the bulk of the country's population, were up in arms on August 20, after 91-year-old former Vice President Moody Awori landed a new job.

    Council of Governors Chair Wycliffe Oparanya appointed the veteran politician to the Inter County Advisory and Resource Mobilisation Committee.

    This brought back the infamous speech made by President Uhuru Kenyatta on December 6, 2018, after he was cornered over his tendency to appoint veterans to top posts.

    He defended his position and dismissed young people in Kenya as thieves who cannot be entrusted with public funds.

    The President argued that elderly men would prevent cartels from stealing the money.

    “Ukiona vile watu wanaiba pesa halafu tupatie kijana. Mimi afadhali nikae na huyo mzee achunge hiyo pesa itumike vile inatakikana. Watu waniwache bana sitaki mambo mingi (Can you look at how people are looting and ask me to appoint a youthful individual. I would rather stick to the elderly who can safeguard the money and ensure that it's used for what it is supposed to. People should just leave me alone).” he said.

    Coincidentally, it was Moody Awori's appointment to serve among a seven-member oversight board to manage the Sports, Art and Social Development Fund that led to a public outcry.

    Kenyans online expressed their dismay, frustration and indignation at the news.

    During this year's International Youth Day, August 12, President Uhuru assured Kenyans that his government was focused on empowering the youth.

    "The youth are a vast reservoir of creativity. They are our most valued asset," he stated.

    The appointment of several youthful Chief Administrative Secretaries such as Dr Mercy Mwangangi (Health) Zack Kinuthia (CAS Education) and Nadia Ahmed (ICT and Youth Affairs) was lauded as a step in the right direction.

    However, the latest report from KNBS showed that the nation's youth are still the least employed.

    Labour underutilization, which is the combined rate of time-related underemployment and unemployment increased marginally in Quarter 1 2020 to 8.0% compared to 7.9% recorded in quarter 4 of 2019.

    Watch President Uhuru's infamous speech on dangers of employing the youth below: