Sunday, May 19, 2024

Who will save Kenyans from the jaws of ruthless Gulf slavery?

For the umpteenth time, working in the Gulf has been anni horribiles (years of disaster) for most Kenyans.

That our economy is in ablution territory cannot justify the ineffable suffering most domestic workers go through in Riyadh.

For as long as we can remember, many have been tortured, killed or completely dehumanized by rogue employers in Saudi Arabia.

Yet, agonizingly, some have remained as obstinate as mules, defying all the warning signs, choosing to clandestinely work with unscrupulous agencies to land domestic jobs in the Gulf.

No amount of unemployment can be an excuse of travelling to places that obviously do not value humanity.

I find anyone encouraging this narrative either mentally unbalanced or pathetically annoying.

Riyath tour

After their characteristic filibuster, a parliamentary committee is said to have visited Riyadh in 2019 on ‘fact finding mission’.

Their recommendations did not stop the suffering, latest being the case of Diana Chepkemoi.

The government of Kenya deserve cogent reasons from the Saudi Kingdom why her citizens must be subjected to debauchery and various shades of wickedness.

Their nefarious acts are stinking to high heavens and alien to this century. Nairobi must address this issue with adroit diplomacy or a significant level of ruthlessness should the former fail to yield anything palatable. Diplomatic faux pas my foot!

We have enough space for domestic workers in Kenya. Sadly, most of them have been a pain in the neck.

Care givers’ woes

To nip this in the bud, a good number of parents have installed CCTV cameras in their houses as miniature sentinels.  

It is not unusual to hear reports of children being molested or even killed in the hands of their care givers.

I am acutely aware of those who complain of low pay. What most such employees are completely ignorant about is that parents are willing to pay more provided they get value for money.

As a domestic worker, you must demonstrate this to earn better remuneration. Domestic work also requires utmost humility (read respect) to the employer, particularly to women who are mostly ‘ministers’ in charge of home affairs.

It is not lost on me that employer and employee relations should be formal and cordial.

While employers may exercise some ‘bragging rights’ or sometimes be inordinately bossy, they must value and respect those to whom they have delegated responsibility over home affairs.


I am essentially being blunt that opportunities for domestic work abound within our borders.

The notion of having to travel to a far country in order to make it in life is thus a taradiddle that must be debunked.

Of course, I am tremendously aware of better prospects that lay in some foreign lands thanks to the wobbling shilling.

Dignity of the Kenyan people is sacrosanct. We can tolerate our inevitable internal ideological or political differences.

But certainly not any form of aggression meted against us in foreign countries.

Shall we agree that the cases of Chepkemoi and Elizabeth Wanjiru be the very last we have read in the newspapers?

This calls for adopting drastic measures.

We can tell our friends in the Gulf that to err is human; to forgive is divine.

This is deeply rooted in our mental and spiritual faculties which make us extremely magnanimous when dealing with friendly nations.

Banana republic

Otherwise, we can authoritatively affirm that ours is not a banana republic.

Kenya cannot play second fiddle. The new president must cleanse the Augean stables and ensure we (re)gain our pride of place among the committee of nations.

Solution(s) toward this unprovoked attack against Kenyan citizens in the Middle East must be swift and hugely inconveniencing.

Riyadh, through her embassy in Nairobi, ought to make a clean breast of this matter and offer profuse apologies. May justice prevail for the victims.

Anyway, away from the Gulf and her diabolic manoeuvres, I hope this year will be King Charles’ III annus mirabilis!

The writer is a communication specialist

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