Why MP withdrew computers after launching ICT centre

The centre is projected to play a primary role in reducing unemployment among youth

In Summary

• Youth say the opening of the facility will keep them busy during Christmas holiday as most of them are idle at home

• Two of such centres are already in operation in Angurai and Kolanya and a fourth one is expected to be opened before January in Malaba.

Students from St Thomas Amagoro Girls when the centre was launched
NOT OPERATIONAL: Students from St Thomas Amagoro Girls when the centre was launched
Teso North MP Oku Kaunya (L) during the launch of the ICT centre in October
NOT OPERATIONAL: Teso North MP Oku Kaunya (L) during the launch of the ICT centre in October

An ICT centre launched in Teso North in October has not been operational.

The Star has established that the 13 computers unveiled by Teso North MP Oku Kaunya during its launch were withdrawn the same day.

The Sh1.1 million project is an initiative of the area MP and Kiwimbi Public Library in Amagoro town. The idea of opening it emanated from the need to enable unemployed youth to work online and earn money instead of depending on the government for jobs.

On Tuesday, Kiwimbi Library manager Daniel Otwane said the withdrawal of the laptops arose from security concerns highlighted by the management of the library.

“We are actually the ones who saw the need to withdraw the laptops. Those are some items that thieves target,” he said.

He, however, said the centre will be reopened before the end of December and students on holiday should take advantage of their Christmas break to make use of the centre.

Attempts by the Star to speak to Kaunya over the issue were unsuccessful as phone calls did not go through. He also did respond to a  text message sent to him.

However, constituency manager Richard Ochalu said the management of Kiwimbi Library was the one delaying operations at the centre. 

“It is the people of Kiwimbi who are delaying us,” he said.

“They have the laptops and it is upon them to guarantee the machines’ security.”

MP Kaunya when he unveiled the project, called on the youth to  use the facility to further their ICT knowledge and do online jobs.

Its opening came after the successful launch of the fibre optic cable by Safaricom that provides high-speed internet in Busia and Malaba towns. Amagoro town is four kilometres away from Malaba.

“I put education first. The youth can now use the internet to work online. There are many opportunities that internet provides that our young people haven’t known about, and we will keep on reminding them that they need not wait for the government to give them jobs,” he said.

“By using these centres, young people can become innovative and bring ideas on how to develop Teso and Kenya. They should study hard knowing that their future is bright.”

Teso North in Busia county has one of the highest rates of unemployment, 66.7 per cent, based on statistics from the county’s Integrated Development Plan for 2017-22.

Similar centres have been opened in Kolanya and Angura and a fourth one is expected to be opened at the Youth Empowerment Centre in Malaba before January 2020.

Youth, who spoke to the Star, urged for speedy opening of the centre.

“We are idle at home. It will keep us busy,” college student Annet Barua said.

The centres are open to members of the public, pupils and students.