Dozens of young Kenyans faced disappointment as they were barred from participating in the ongoing National Youth Service (NYS) recruitment exercise in Kiambu County due to having tattoos on their bodies.
Despite meeting the minimum academic requirements and passing the physical fitness test, these potential recruits were disqualified solely because of their tattoos.
Many of the disqualified youths expressed frustration at being excluded from the exercise because of their body art and urged the National Youth Service authorities to reconsider their decision.
Peterson Kamande, speaking on behalf of the affected youths, explained that they regretted not heeding their parents’ advice against getting tattoos. Now, they are seeking expert assistance to remove the tattoos in order to qualify for government opportunities.
Kamande shared his disappointment, stating, “I was disqualified because I have a tattoo which was engraved on my right arm when I was in high school. My parents had warned me about it but it has finally come to cost me. I’m now looking for an expert to have it removed because I am losing government opportunities.”
Similarly, John Kiragu lamented that his dream of joining the National Youth Service was shattered due to his tattoo. He urged younger individuals to refrain from getting tattoos, emphasising the pain and expense associated with their removal.
Joseph Murage, who finally qualified for the National Youth Service after having a tattoo removed from his shoulder, expressed relief at the opportunity. He hoped to become a police officer through NYS training.
Additionally, some candidates were disqualified due to errors in their national identity cards, such as listing their birthplace far from the recruitment centre.
The National Youth Service Director General, James Tembur is yet to make a comment on the matter, stating that he would address the issues once the recruitment exercise concluded.
While some participants acknowledged the fairness of the exercise, they highlighted that minor mistakes led to many being sent home disappointed.
Despite the low turnout compared to the population of Thika, many youths eagerly attended the recruitment in hopes of seizing the opportunities provided by the National Youth Service training.