By Andrew Wasike
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) - Hundreds of unemployed Kenyans on Wednesday took to the streets of the capital Nairobi over lack of employment opportunities in the country.
This came a couple of weeks after media and companies in different sectors started laying off staff due to tax-disputes with the Kenyan government.
“I was among 414 who were sent home on Sept. 30, those who were retained also had their salaries reduced by 40%,” Ann Njeri Wairimu, a student at a Nairobi University and mother of two, told Anadolu Agency.
“Our government promised us jobs ahead of elections. We have no jobs, we are crying today on the streets of Nairobi because of this,” she added.
The unemployment topic has been trending on Kenya's social media in the past week.
“We, the concerned youth of Kenya, assemble here today in full vigor to protest the alarming rates of unemployment in Kenya, levels of societal breakdowns and the sorry state of our economy,” Withera Wanjiru, one of the organizers of the protest, told Anadolu Agency.
“It is overwhelming that over the last few months, more than 14,236 employees have lost their jobs and there is no remorse for it from the government,” she added.
Wanjiru noted that Kenyan economists predict that the numbers would rise. Job loses so far have hit nearly all sectors of the economy from commercial to insurance firms, manufacturing to telecommunication firms.
According to the World Bank, the proportion of Kenya’s youth to the population is among the highest globally.
In a petition, many unemployed Kenyan youth said that corruption has taken away resources meant for youth development.
They called for expunging the additional taxes in the Finance Bill 2019, saying the business environment is not conducive to investors.
The crowds were later dispersed by police who used teargas canisters. One protester was arrested.