Kwale youth threaten to demonstrate over arrest of HELB loan defaulters

Kenyan youth in past demonstrations./COURTESY

Kwale, KENYA: A youth movement dubbed Okoa pwani from Kwale county has threatened to hold demonstrations in reaction to the government’s plans to arrest over 74,000 youths said to have defaulted in Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loan repayment.

The Msambweni based youth movement has opposed the move by government to have the youths who have failed to honor their loan repayment held culpable.

The group’s chair Andrew Mwafusi, on Thursday said that most youth who have graduated from higher institutions of learning are still jobless and cannot afford to repay the loan.

“The government should only arrest the those who are already employed and have neglected to repay their loan. It is not appropriate for the government to hold the jobless youths liable for failing to honor their loan repayment, rather we will mobilize them to stage protests against the move,” said Mwafusi.

He faulted the government for paying much attention to adoption of the move in a bid to recover the loan and thus failing to prosecute the suspects of corruption related allegations.

“I don’t understand why the government has resorted to impose stringent measures to loan defaulters. Why don’t they do the same in the fight against corruption, a vice that has robbed the county billions of money through numerous scandals?” asked Mwafusi.

However, he appealed to the youths to make use of their knowledge and skills to create more jobs for themselves rather than wait to be employed.

“In addition, I urge the youths to take advantage of the education they have gotten from school to use it wisely and consider to become self employed which will help them start to repay their loan,” added Mwafusi.

This comes amid plans by government to fast track the loan defaulters to recover about sh. 7.2 billion HELB loan issued to students in public universities and colleges to fund their higher education.