HELB madness, Personal Experience from the 90s, hell is real when jobless
By Gordon Opiyo
I cleared Campus during the KANU era when Moi and Biwott were stealing everything, and their cronies demanded 10% for every investment. Jobs were hard to come by. We had to pool resources and stay like 5 graduates in a single room as we tarmacked from Mathare North. It wasn’t easy. Getting a public service job with a name like Onyango Opiyo from Siaya was next to impossible. Moi regime made life hard for Luos from Siaya due to his siasa mbaya maisha mbaya philosophy against Odingaism. I took five years to settle on these JuaKali jobs.
I thought I made it big when Hilary Ng’weno employed me at The Weekly Review, but due to tough economic times caused by KANU corruption, he shut the Magazine. I then tried working at the Standard as a correspondent. Life at Likoni road was hard. You could end up with 5 k at the end of the month if your stories were not used. I tried growing tomatoes in BuruBuru, I fried cassavas and sweet potatoes in Eastleigh. I basically did anything to bring food on the table.
All this while, HELB was fining me 5,000 Bob per month for being broke. By the time I settled, I was told that I owed them 800k!!!
From a loan of 100k, these guys wanted me to pay 800k.
I was not able to get a job due to corruption by the same guys making silly policies.
Now that corruption is again fully back to the KANU days, and with a new level of mass-theft called Counties, I wonder how graduates are surviving.
To make matters worse, none of the politicians is thinking about the youth. They are all talking about 2022, as HELB fines them 5,000 per month for being jobless.
To rub salt to Injury, Amina wants to use Police to follow people.
Yep, najua a couple of campus kids who took helb loans just bcuz they needed that extra cash, while their parents actually provide fees and upkeep for them… they don’t understand the hell that awaits them ahead. Kwanza na hii inchi vile hakuna kazi na watunwameweka hopes in getting employment…
They will arrest a young unemployed graduate for defaulting on HELB, but release the person that walked into the country with 258 million in funds of undetermined origin. They will not arrest the numerous wash/wash fellas; or the persons that inflated the Nairobi expressway tag from 16 billion to 80 billion in less than 2 years. They will NOT arrest any public servant that steals 1o million and up, yet those are the people responsible for the HELB shortage in the first place
We need a hard mental reset, in Kwinya; because this system of governance is not sustainable. Even in “Yunares Murika”, one of the most capitalistic countries on earth, the gava will never arrest you for not paying on your federal student loan if you are jobless. In fact, the account is put on “suspended state” any time one is jobless. And the same gava cannot even force you to get a job to pay on your loan
Mimi mtoto ya peasant sitambui HELB. Nilisomeshwa na chama gitate. Mahali niliumia ni fare. Nilikuwa na dandia ma lorry hadi sistem. Lunch nilikuwa na savaiv na kdf mbili na ndizi. God is great nilitoboa. Saa hii i have a brighter future bila madeni.