“Come back next week” or “you must have a five year experience.” That is the tune being sang out there if you are a job seeker. Jobholders seem not to care about the hundreds of miles you have covered to knock at their door. They don’t mind whether you borrow fare everyday to the city. Their business is to postpone your appointment with them as much as possible until the soles of your once raised shoes are flat.
When you come back next week, the Human Resource manager is sick. On the second day, his grandmother is sick; hence he has gone to attend to her upcountry. On the third day, he is in a meeting and cannot see anyone. What happens on Friday? He is holding a press conference just in time to attend ‘members day.’ When will he ever be seen?
Let me take you through the job industry in Uganda, particularly the education sector I happened to visit. At one of its public and two private universities, most of the lecturers were young Turks. Indeed, young men and women headed various faculties. I interviewed them about the job qualifications in their country with a view of striking a comparison with the “five-year experience” requirement in Kenya.
“Here we are not often asked for many years work experience. As long as you qualify, you automatically become a fit candidate,” said one of them.
“Where on earth does one get experience from if he is not given a chance?” Asked another.
Why do Kenyans still rush to seek jobs in foreign countries such as Saudi Arabia, despite being warned of harassment? The response is simple. While it is true that the government of Kenya may not have sent any Amina, Atieno, Wanjiku, and Nambia to the Middle East, the situation here at home is terrible hence we are left with no option but to go out there and look for green pastures. Mark this: not greener, since the pasture back here has completely dried up due to a long ‘drought spell’ of tribalism, nepotism, gender bias and barriers to job entry.
A breed of leaders have come up with a Kiswahili phrase: ‘najivunia kuwa mKenya’ (I am proud to be Kenyan).You are right sir, because your pockets are full. It is upon you that ‘the economy has improved.’ How do I celebrate being Kenyan while I am rudely denied a job? I wonder how someone can stand tall and brave to advice me to do so if three quarters of what I earn is taken through taxes; micro-finance institutions are not friendly to low-income earners and minimum wage laws bar my entry to the job market. How can I be proud when insecurity is high and gangsters are threatening my property left and right? It is time the youth used their education to create jobs instead of depending on a system that is sure to fail them. It is time they pushed for education that is practical and relevant in solving respective country’s problems.
Is it pragmatically correct to stand again on a long queue on an empty belly after every five years to cast my vote; a sure way of rolling red carpet for a breed of selfish leaders who have pegged success on politics instead of the market force of productivity? I thought that my vote would lead to change and creation of equal opportunities. Oh no! I was wrong again.
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