The State of The Kenyan Worker

Azima Wellness Talk 20/2018

The State of The Kenyan Worker;

One step away from SDGs

This week has been momentous. The Dons strike that was on the 3rd month was called off. This has both good and bad news. It is good for the students who have been waiting and wasting away at home. They are now hopeful to continue with learning.

As the patron of Azima Foundation which supports needy students through school, I was in a meeting with two of our students last week and I felt their pain when they explained one of them has taken 6 years in college for a course that was supposed to take 4 years. The other is still in the 3rd semester yet he has been in campus since 2015. This is unfortunate to the learners especially coming from  poor background.

The many strikes that take too long are a big loss to the economy of our country.  The situation becomes even worse because there are no holiday jobs to occupy the idle students during strikes. Even majority of those who have graduated in the last 5 years have no job placements. This is a terrible waste of human resource at its prime. We are wasting our best brains instead of putting them to good use like in well managed countries that place people before profit.

Allow me to point out that men are most creative at the age of 18 and 26years. This is the age Bill Gates founded Microsoft. It is the age Sir Richard Branson founded Virgin records that gave birth to Virgin group of companies. Steve Jobs was 23 when he founded Apple with Wozniak. This is also true of Kalanick of Uber, Zuckerberg of FB and Elon Musk of Space X. Why are we wasting away our best brains at their prime?  Could this be a bigger conspiracy against the African people to remain consumers of products from those who do not go on strike?

It is important to note that the rich do not educate their children in our public universities. If not abroad they attend private universities that do not go on strike. The common person is the direct loser but the country lose even more. Consider the contribution to mankind by Apple or Microsoft and the tax they contribute to their country! My gut feelings tell me we are sabotaging the possibility of having our own Apple which is about to hit a trillion dollars in valuation or FB which has more active users than the combined population of Africa and America.

Our last two newsletters have focused on building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in our country. We need to massively expand our economy to generate enough revenue to be able to pay our workers well. The way we have handled our dons is a disaster. How do we expect them to have the morale to teach after giving them only 1.75% which is way below our inflation?  We have messed all the chances to create an enabling ecosystem to support SDG no 4 Quality Education and no 10 to Reduce Inequality. This cannot be allowed to continue.

The dons have showed maturity and patriotism in agreeing to call off the strike even after being slighted with an offer of a paltry 1.75% increment. They got tired engaging an obstinate government and decided to go back to class. This is a sad day for Kenya and her people. How can we expect productivity from dissatisfied workers especially in such critical area like teaching? Have they heard of 100% human at the work place being championed by Safaricom CEO Bob?

We are in a new world order where workers interest comes first. Goal number 8 is about Decent Work and Economic Growth. We cannot talk of descent work for all if we treat our best brains this way. Ours is a hopelessly unequal society.

With the new rules of making full  disclosure  how much top CEOs earn in listed companies, we have been awed to see what some students taught by our dons take home every month. These top earners go to the same supermarkets with our dons. The Cuban imports are being paid more than three times our professors. What considerations is used to arrive at these scales? SDGs number 10 call for Reducing Inequalities. We pay our professors less than the doctors they have taught.  This is unfair and cannot foster goodwill and respect for our dons.

 While the dons were on strike, our politicians paid themselves pensions of 18 million. This is a salary for a professor for 6 years. An MCA earns more money than a professor. This is unacceptable.I call upon all patriotic Kenyans to reflect on this and commit to do something in support of decency to our top brains.

We need to call out our human resource managers. We need their intervention. Our country is at a cross road. Our GDP is too low considering that we have a working population of almost 30 million. Our GDP is only $ 74B with a per capita income of $1134.1 Countries like South Korea which is a 6th the size of Kenya and 50 million people has a GDP of $1.45 Trillion. A small country like Singapore which is the size of Nairobi city with a population of 5.6 Million people only has a GDP of $297B and per capita income of  $52,600.6. This is clear prove that we are sleeping on our potential. Both these two countries are the same age with our country and their economies were behind ours in the 60s and 70s.

Join me next week we discuss what we can do to birth a new Kenya.

Who feel challenged by Gandhi to be the change you want to see?


With profound regards,
Maina Azimio
Founder and CEO
Azima Wellness Consultants LTD
Conference Speaker & Corporate Trainer in Total Wellness.

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