Hundreds of youths participating in the Kazi Mtaani Programme in Nyeri Town downed their tools Friday protesting over delayed payments of their dues as well as unfair dismissal of some of them.
The angry youths camped outside Nyeri Central Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner’s offices for close to two hours demanding that their grievances be addressed before they can resume work.
Some 4,474 youths in the County have been enlisted in the programme and divided in two lots that alternate after 11 days.
Most of those affected were the youths in the first lot that were meant to resume work yesterday, but maintained they were not going to do so until their dues were paid.
The authorities had a hard time controlling the rowdy youths who nearly brought activities in the government offices to a standstill.
Anti-riot police officers at one point had to intervene when the group took their protests to the streets where they barricaded the Baden Powell road and lit fires.
They accused the authorities in charge of the programme in the area of taking them in circles by giving empty promises that their dues would be settled soon.
“We are tired of waiting yet we have rent arrears to settle as well as other financial obligations,” said one of the protestors, Mary Kariuki.
Her counterpart, Nathan Githinji, said unless there was a quick intervention, the programme was not going to achieve the intended purpose of creating employment for them as a means of cushioning them against the adverse effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
They also complained that many of them had been removed from the system as of Thursday evening and notified via text messages on their phones not to report to work the following day.
In response, the Deputy county com missioner Joseph Mwangi said the delay in payment was occasioned by inconsistences in personal details of the cohorts that was meant to facilitate processing of the payroll.
He said some of the youths had given conflicting details with regard to national identification numbers and their phone numbers, thus payment could not be processed.
Mwangi said the issue had so far been resolved as the affected had been contacted to correct the anomalies and enable processing of the payments the soon possible.
He assured them that none of the cohorts had or would be dismissed and asked them to resume work as their pay grievances are addressed.
He nonetheless warned that those who will not report to work on Monday will be dismissed and their slots given to others.
By Samuel waititu