Monday, 20 July 2015


The two stories: one, the stampede that took place at Kenya Ports Authority’s Bandari College, Mombasa earlier on this month where over 3000 people turned up for 28 job vacancies and another one in the Judiciary where 80,000 people applied for 1000 vacancies brought to fore the latent unemployment crisis in the country, a disaster in waiting.  While unemployment is not a new phenomenon in Kenya and beyond, many have been quick to blame today’s graduates for being unemployed.

Numerous excuses have been brought up whilst no one is really keen in mitigating the already dire situation. Largely unfounded narratives being peddled around by ‘analysts’ that blame fresh graduates for unemployment include lack of entrepreneurial spirit and lack of requisite job market skills,  the most perpetuated fallacy.

The fact that Kenya is hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Summit is an indication that we are doing well on this realm in terms of viable business ideas but reasons for failure of the said businesses is what should concern us most. So the argument that graduate lack entrepreneurial spirit is somewhat misinformed.  Also, the employers have gone ahead to blame university curriculum for producing ‘unemployable’ graduates. One will wonder what makes them different yet they too attended the same universities that they are bashing left right and center.  

Going forward, the gospel of start your own business has never been this aggressive. The irony is the fact that those telling the fresh graduates to start their own business are comfortably sitting behind their mahogany desks, employed and drawing huge perks but they can’t create opportunities for the rest.

I believe the blame game regarding unemployment should shift to those who are employed and have worked for a very long time accumulating vast wealth but have decided not to create their own businesses that could employ them and dozens of fresh graduates. For them, the only investment they know is buying & selling of land plots and trading in stock shares but they don’t create opportunities for young lads yet they are the first people to criticize them.

While establishment of businesses is a viable solution and that we should explore it by all means, it’s imperative to point out that business success is not a guarantee and also recognize the fact that not all can be business people as some have to work for others, that’s nature. As we create opportunities, we should focus on building capacities of the fresh graduates by providing them with entry level jobs so that they can acquire experience, establish business linkages and at the appropriate time, moment move on to start their businesses. Before they clinch those professional consultancy tenders, they need to prove that they have the required capacity; that is knowledge and experience. I believe we can create job opportunities. Excuses that fresh graduates lack entrepreneurial spirit and employability skills are just that; lame excuses. We can indeed create enough jobs but those who possess the wealth have simply decided to be selfish. I think that’s about it.