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Mary Wambui has age, but not capacity to be a board member of National Employment Authority says Pauline Njoroge

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Former Othaya Member of Parliament Mary Wambui’s appointment as a board member of National Employment Authority has elicited reactions from Kenyans and the latest is that of Pauline Njoroge, a jubilee blogger who has worked for President Uhuru Kenyatta for years now.

It is believed that the appointment of Wambui has come as a surprise to many individuals including those in top government positions. With the likes of Pauline coming boldly to talk about it, it means even the President himself is not amused.

This is what Pauline had to say.

“I work for a secretariat that has a board. Our chairperson is in his 70s. But this is one man who inspires us all; a man we admire and want so much to learn from as staff. His understanding of governance and economic issues is quite impressive as his whole career life has been about that. He studied economics in some of the most distinguished universities in the world, has years of experience in international development and was even part of President Kibaki’s economic council.

Our secretariat is heavy on governance and economic development issues. We couldn’t have asked for a better Chairman to provide policy guidance to the management team. He fits the bill completely and so do the other board members who are well educated and experienced.

That said, my issue with Mary Wambui’s appointment to the National Employment Authority (NEA) has nothing to do with age, but capacity. This is an authority created to tackle the challenge of the youth bulge and the rising unemployment rate. For one to chair such an authority and to effectively provide oversight and policy guidance to the management team, he/she should have vast knowledge on the issue at hand considering the changing dynamics of our world, globalization and technology which is in a big way taking over the place of conventional jobs as we knew them and creating new ways of doing things; where machines are replacing people in the work force. For starters, the person must have an idea on how under the prevailing circumstances we can take advantage of technology to create more jobs because that’s our reality. We are in the 21st Century man! It is no longer business as usual.

Talking of globalization, I would also expect the person to have a grasp on matters interconnectedness, regionalism, opportunities that will emerge from common markets and open boarders etc and how well we can exploit them. Knowledge on best practices, gaps that need to be filled through technical and vocational training etc etc should be a bare minimum.

I would have no problem if Mary Wambui got an appointment in another board, in a sector that she is experienced in and has competence in, age not withstanding. I acknowledge that a board position can never be an employment opportunity for a young jobless person as these positions are usually more about giving back to the country, not receiving. But again, one cannot give what he/she does not have.” Pauline Njoroge wrote.

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