BY KIMANI MBUGUA FOR EDAILY.CO.KE.
The director of youth programmes at the Office of the President Walter Mong’are, popularly known as Nyambane, now says the media misquoted him when he urged millenials to “get up and look for jobs”.
Speaking recently during the ‘Youth Economic Dialogue’ in Nairobi, Mr Mong’are blamed young people for feeling entitled to getting job opportunities simply because they are “Kenyan youth”.
When tasked to explain why Kenya seeks foreign workers in construction of roads, while Kenyan youth are available – and are jobless –, Mr Mong’are said the youth in Kenya are not willing to do these kind of tasks, consequently, leaving the field to workers from other countries.
“You cannot just sit at home and expect jobs to come to you. You must get up and look for the opportunities,” he said during the event.
He also said people between the ages of 23 and 40 years are “know-it- all”; and see no need of seeking a guidance they direly need.
Mr Mong’are, consequently, received flak from a section of Kenyan youth, who feel they have tried all they can to secure jobs, but to no avail.
Following the backlash, Mr Mong’are now blames the framing of his remarks on the media.
“If we are to help young people in this country, as media we need to be factual in the manner in which information is sent out so that we are helpful to people. Our statements are not there to diminish any effort that is being made, or any person,” Mr Mong’are told EDAILY on phone.
“It is good for someone to seek clarification before they write something that just, injures or makes another young man or young lady despair. My statement was in that context; in the sense that everybody as a citizen is entitled to a job,” said Mr Mong’are.
“However, when it comes to the actual job opportunity that is why people conduct interviews to find suitable candidates. And so, at that point, you can’t say because you are a Kenyan, just because you are young, that guy should give you the job anyway.
“I also said opportunities are available, but people are not actively pursuing them. As Walter, I have sent away parents who come to me and tell me: ‘nataka utafutie mtoi wangu job’. I ask the parent: ‘Are you the one looking for job, or it is your son?’
“An employer is entitled to choose whoever works for them. That is something that none of us has control over.
“Job opportunities in government have diminished. More people are looking for these limited opportunities. There is scarcity in skilled labour compared to managerial,” said Mr Mong’are, urging the Kenyan youth not to be “too choosy” on what they can do; and what they can’t do to earn a living, so long as the activity is legal.
“Not everybody hates what I said. There are those who were angered, there are those who think I made a point.