More than 800 youths in Naivasha, in Nakuru County, are worried that they may never get their payments as a result of a shift in the government.
It was under the presidency of now-retired President Uhuru Kenyatta that the team was employed under the Kazi Mtaani Programme.
They said they did the job in the weeks running up to the August 9 General Election, but had not been paid for it yet.
Some of them bemoaned the fact that they had been forced out of their houses because of unpaid rent, but the government remained silent about their predicament.
“We need our money and we are humbly asking, ‘Please help us, we worked hard for the money.’ The money has not been paid for two months. Just pay us whenever we do the Kazi Mtaani work,” lamented one of the workers.
Their spokesperson Margaret Njoroge said that they were undergoing untold suffering despite doing their part which included clearing drainages and bushes by the roadside.
She said that some of their houses had been closed while tens of families were sleeping hungry as they waited for their dues from the State.
Now, the youths are demanding that Susan Kihika, the governor of Nakuru County, step in and assist them in obtaining their pay.
Naivasha’s deputy county commissioner Mutua Kisilu confirmed the workers’ claims to NTV, saying that just a small number of employees had not been paid.
In recent months, it has been increasingly typical for youths participating in the program to go unpaid for their services.
For example, in early August, Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga was questioned about why some youths who had completed the job had not yet been paid.
Those who did not receive their payments, he said in response, were those who had not finished registering.
From a total of Ksh20 billion set aside for youth activities, the Uhuru government earmarked Ksh2.1 billion to be utilized for youth empowerment through Kazi Mtaani in order to increase employment.
In previous programmes, the government employed the youth to partake in various cleaning projects across the country. The youth were also absorbed as a workforce in the Big Four Agenda projects such as the affordable housing.
To further the State Department for Youth’s Kenya Youth Empowerment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP), the government has provided an additional Ksh2.2 billion.
Ksh175 million was put into the Youth Enterprise Development Fund to help finance young entrepreneurs.
Uhuru’s administration set aside Ksh900 million to fund the development of jobs and related vocational education in an effort to increase youth employment.