At least 200 youth sponsored by the Msambweni constituency development fund for driving programmes have abandoned driving schools for fear of being subjected to blood tests.
The youth from across all the wards of the constituency ostensibly abandoned driving courses after they learnt they will have to undergo a blood test before they acquired their driving licenses.
The Msambweni MP, Suleiman Dori sponsored the youth for the free driving lessons as part of his commitment to equip the youth the constituency with employable skills as well as build their capacities for future opportunities.
Dori through the national government constituency development fund is funding the entire cost of the training as well as the cost of obtaining driving licenses for each of the trainees.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) recently introduced new driving licenses that indicate the drivers’ blood group.
The new smart licenses stores drivers’ details on a chip and unlike the old ones they contain the driver’s data such as Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) pin, ID number and blood group.
According to Dori the youth discontinued the programme equating ‘the blood group test with HIV testing.’
The second term MP said the blood group on the smart digital driving license is a move by NTSA aimed at facilitating treatment of accident victims admitted to health facilities.
Speaking during a public forum on Thursday at Gazi area of Msambweni, Dori said the rollout of the youth empowerment programme was now in limbo and appealed to the youth to go back and complete the driving skills course.
“I still don’t believe what these young people have done after learning that for them to get a driving license they have to undergo a blood test,” he said adding that the programme was meant to change the lives of youth who are jobless in the constituency.
He said lack of jobs among the youth in the constituency will be a thing of the past since the programme seeks to enroll them for free and seek livelihoods as drivers and boda boda riders.
“But I am taken aback by the fact that instead of youth registering in big numbers to benefit from the free empowerment programme to gain skills they are abandoning it due to unfounded fears of HIV testing ,” he said.
Dori expressed his disappointment with the turn of events having spent money on the training programme and asked the local driving colleges to hold guidance counseling sessions for the youth on matters of blood identification.
By Hussein Abdullahi