Austria’s Prime Minister is 31 years old. New Zealand’s is 37, Ukraine’s is 40, as is France’s president. Estonia’s is 39. In Kenya, meanwhile, we are appointing 80-year-olds to state jobs.
For a country whose average life expectancy is just over 57 years, it appears, at least going by the ages of those appointed to critical state roles, that everyone in the country is young.
This would not be a big deal for the crusty old parastatal and ministry jobs that slosh around the country, carrying with them fat eating opportunities and the promise of a good life on taxpayers’ backs until death-those are few and far between, anyway, so no one begrudges the old geezers that do get planted there.
After all, which vibrant young person wants to spend the rest of their days being the chairman of a board, wheezing and snoozing through boring board meetings at which the most prevalent scent is that of farts released unwittingly by sad, fat old men and women?
For a government that’s supposed to be “digital” and “with it”, however, Uhuru and Ruto’s administration is shockingly fond of plucking old people from their pre-death repentance years and into positions that really should be held by far younger brains.
Last week, some government organisation had a conference of sorts on an emerging technology called Blockchain.
This is a fairly complex concept whose applications are only now beginning to be figured out by the technology giants of the world, but which will include a host of trust-based tools and platforms, including those that handle messaging, banking, healthcare, and so on.
With such a future-facing conference underway, you’d think the government would send its youngest, sharpest brains, its most bright-eyed IT-savvy youngsters, those fresh brains with their fingers quite literally on the pulse of what’s happening in the world of technology.
You’d be wrong. Government wheeled out a bunch of old men in grey ill-fitting suits to attend and run the function.
It perhaps doesn’t help that the government’s own information technology body is run by a long-in-the-tooth bunch of joyriders whose most important contribution to Kenyan information technology is exactly nothing.
And the result of these efforts?
The geriatrics recommended a taskforce, several frameworks and a “sandbox” to “test the concept". They then, undoubtedly, pocketed their fat allowances and went home satisfied with having done absolutely nothing, as has been their custom all their lives.
Despite promising to empower youth by giving them a chance in his government, President Uhuru has continued to recycle old guard, some of whom have been in public service for decades, to plum appointments in the public service.
Key job in this county are still held by old men, with no new, fresh ideas. From politics to business, from technology to law, the country is subjected to decisions made about the future by people who won’t be there when that future arrives.
Maybe it’s time to pension off these crusty old yesteryears and let them die in peace, diets or no diets.
It certainly is time to let Kenya’s younger people- under 40s, please- have a go at running the country they will have to live in when the fat old men are long dead.