In an effort to combat radicalization in Busia, the county government of Busia and the National government have resorted to empowering members of notorious criminal groups to become investors.
The group, known as Jobless Group, residing in Busia town Marachi Estate has now reformed from being goons and smugglers into traders engaging in legitimate businesses.
Speaking in Marachi Estate, Busia County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto applauded the Busia Jobless group for agreeing to engage with the security team to address insecurity cases that had derailed development in the area.
“I am delighted that you have changed from smugglers to investors and have even come up with a security firm to empower youths hence reducing idleness in the streets,” said Ruto.
The sentiment was echoed by Governor Dr. Paul Otuoma who urged investors to open new chapters in the county to help reduce the poverty level which stands at 83 percent.
“I would like to welcome investors in Busia, we have contained radicalization and smuggling activities. My government has incorporated youths leaving no room for idling and coercion by politicians,” said Otuoma.
Otuoma was speaking during the launch of the transport sector that saw the jobless group receive a Sh3.2million Nissan van as a way to empower them to end criminal activities. The team also benefited from the establishment of a security firm and washing machine from the national government.
The Principal Secretary (PS) SMEs Susan Mang’eni recalled incidents when the team has been used by politicians to cause riots during political rallies, and lauded them for their move to take a new route away from crime and hooliganism.
“This is a good initiative for our youths and I am glad to see that they have now decided to follow the right way. We as the national government are ready to work hand in hand with the county government in order to support them in every way.” said Mang’eni.
The chairperson of Marachi youths William Odhiambo urged the government to set aside various positions for youths while allocating jobs. He however requested the governor to ensure that all children from the streets get education thus avoiding school dropout cases, which leads to insecurity.
“I request the government to consider youths in development issues, especially those who come from poor family backgrounds. More schools should also be built in order to encourage our children to go to school for a bright future in our area,” said Odhiambo.
Busia and Malaba are still the leading border Towns in smuggling of goods and crossing of illegal immigrants from Uganda. Many Kenyans regularly cross the border to shop for cereals, sugar, eggs, cosmetics, fuel, milk and fruits, among other items.
The jobless group has reformed and changed the name of their group to “God Bless Investment” now ready to open a new page of their life and take part in legal businesses and promote the economy of the county
By Absalom Namwalo and Thomas Ndagwa